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April 28, 2014 AT 9:13 AM
Syria's parliament speaker says President Bashar Assad has declared his candidacy for the June 3 presidential elections. Speaker Jihad Laham made the announcement on state-run television on Monday. Assad — who has ruled the country since taking over from his father in 2000 — was widely expected to run for a third seven-year term in office. Six other contenders are in the race, but they are mostly expected to give the election a veneer of legitimacy.