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Syria: Presidential "campaign" opens amid aid delivery delays - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows the Syrian parliament convening on April 21, 2014, in Damascus. Syria will hold presidential elections on June 3, the country's parliamentary speaker said.  (AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA)

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows the Syrian parliament convening on April 21, 2014, in Damascus. Syria will hold presidential elections on June 3, the country’s parliamentary speaker said. (AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA)

Beirut, AP—A 54-year-old lawmaker and a former minister, became the second candidate to register his bid in Syria’s almost universally scorned presidential elections, officials said on Thursday. A day earlier, a lawmaker from Aleppo announced his candidacy for the June 3 vote.

The second candidate, Hassan Bin Abdullah Al-Nouri, was educated in the US and hails from a Sunni Muslim family in Damascus. He previously served in Assad’s government as a state minister for administrative and parliamentary affairs.

Assad has suggested he would seek a third, seven-year term, though he has not yet announced his candidacy.

According to a new election law, the balloting must be contested by more than one candidate. Several candidates are expected to run against Assad to give the election a veneer of legitimacy, after being dismissed by the West as a farce.

Also in Damascus, a spokesman for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees in the Middle East said that aid workers resumed food distribution inside the Damascus camp of Yarmouk after 15 days of being prevented from entering the area. Chris Gunnes said UNRWA aid workers distributed 300 food parcels to desperate residents Thursday.

A day earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said neither side in the war has implemented a UN resolution demanding that the opposition and the Syrian government promptly allow access for humanitarian aid. Almost 3.5 million civilians in Syria have almost no access to desperately needed humanitarian aid and people are dying needlessly every day, Ban said.