BEIRUT - A Syrian court said on Sunday it had accepted requests from President Bashar al-Assad and two other candidates to be nominated to run in a presidential election next month.

Assad's challengers are unlikely to pose a serious threat to the president in the June 3 vote, which his international opponents and the rebels fighting to overthrow him have dismissed as a farce.

Syria's opposition leaders in exile are barred from standing by a constitutional clause requiring candidates to have lived in the country continuously for 10 years.

The constitution also says candidates must have the backing of 35 members of the pro-Assad parliament, effectively ruling out dissenting voices from the campaign.

The Supreme Constitutional Court had accepted nomination requests from Assad as well as Hassan Abdallah al-Nouri and lawmaker Maher Abdel-Hafiz Hajjar, court spokesman Majid Khadra said in statements broadcast on state television.


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