Ex-Presidential Aide: Christian Syrians Gladdened by Mikhail Moussa’s Candidacy

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Christian community in Syria is pleased to see that Samih Mikhail Moussa, a Christian, has nominated himself for the upcoming presidential race, a former advisor to the Syrian president said on Saturday.

“The nomination of a Christian candidate among others provides a very good opportunity for the Syrian people, specially the country’s Christians,” George Jabour told FNA.

Registration for Syria’s contentious June 3 presidential vote was wrapped up on Thursday night with 24 contenders, including President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian parliament announced.

Parliament Speaker Jihad al-Laham announced the names of the last seven people who have registered their candidacies at the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) before the deadline of Thursday afternoon.

The 10-day registration for the elections started on April 22, triggering a barrage of criticism by the opposition and their Western backers.

According to the law, each runner for the elections must secure the backing of 35 parliamentarians of the 254-member parliament, a condition limiting the number of those who would eventually be declared candidates as each lawmaker is permitted to back one candidate only.

Voting for Syrians inside the country will start on June 3 while those overseas will cast their votes on May 28.

Hisham Sha’ar, who heads the Syrian supreme committee for presidential elections, said recently that the Syrians who left the country illegally can’t cast their ballots.

Government officials say President Bashar al-Assad is the “real guarantee” for the future of Syria and that it is very likely that he will be re-elected for a third seven-year term.