Syrian Presidential Elections Begin

BBC – Voting is due to get under way in Syria’s presidential election amid heightened security.

The poll takes place three years into a civil war in which tens of thousands of people have died and millions more are displaced.

President Bashar al-Assad is widely expected to win a third seven-year term in office.

However, critics of the Syrian government have denounced the election as a sham.

Analysts say Syrian officials have gone to great lengths to present the vote as a way to resolve the crisis.

It is the first time in decades that more than one name has appeared on the ballot paper.

Correspondents say the other two candidates – Maher Hajjar and Hassan al-Nouri – are not widely known and have been unable to campaign on an equal footing with the president.

Previous presidential terms have been called through a referendum with just one member of the Assad family on the ballot paper.

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