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Syrian lawmaker is first to announce his candidacy in presidential elections

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DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria's parliament speaker says a lawmaker has announced his candidacy for the June 3 presidential election — the first to field his bid for the top post in a vote called despite the country's relentless civil war.

President Bashar Assad has suggested he would seek another term in office but has not announced his candidacy yet.

PHOTO: File-This Sunday Feb. 9, 2014 file photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian citizens walk towards a bus to evacuate them from the battleground city of Homs, Syria. Rebels make their last stand in Homs, fighting desperately to cling to their last bastion in the city's old quarters as emboldened forces loyal to President Bashar Assad launch a fierce assault to evict them completely from the city once known as the capital of the revolution. (AP Photo/SANA, File)
File-This Sunday Feb. 9, 2014 file photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian citizens walk towards a bus to evacuate them from the battleground city of Homs, Syria. Rebels make their last stand in Homs, fighting desperately to cling to their last bastion in the city's old quarters as emboldened forces loyal to President Bashar Assad launch a fierce assault to evict them completely from the city once known as the capital of the revolution. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

Parliament Speaker Jihad Laham says lawmaker Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar announced his candidacy on Wednesday. Syrian state TV says the 43-year-old Hajjar is from the northern city of Aleppo.

No other details were immediately available.

According to a new election law, the balloting must be contested by more than one candidate. So, at least one candidate was expected to run against Assad to give the election a veneer of legitimacy.

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