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Apr 23, 6:42 AM EDT

Syrian lawmaker first to field run for presidency

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- 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.

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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