"Voting for Syrians inside the country will start June 3, while overseas Syrians will cast their votes May 28."
Damascus, April 23 - The Syrian parliament Wednesday announced the name of the first candidate who registered for the presidential election, media reported.
Muhammad Maher Hajjar, a Syrian parliamentarian, was the first to submit his application for the presidential election, Xinhua reported citing the official SANA news agency.
Registration for the June 3 election started Tuesday.
Hajjar submitted his application to the Supreme Constitutional Court, which is tasked with overseeing the presidential election.
The timing of the polls has drawn the ire of the Syrian opposition and their regional and international backers.
Government officials say President Bashar al-Assad is the real guarantee for the future of Syria, hinting that Assad would run for the elections, despite a barrage of criticism, and has a good chance of being re-elected for a third seven-year term.
Opposition groups inside and outside Syria have criticised the decision to hold the presidential election amidst the grinding war between the government troops and armed rebel groups which has claimed more than 150,000 lives and displaced one third of the population.
Assad himself, whose second term will expire July 17, has not yet announced whether he would run for re-election but has reportedly expressed interest in running.
Voting for Syrians inside the country will start June 3, while overseas Syrians will cast their votes May 28.
Assad was unanimously nominated by the Syrian parliament to be president in 2000, following the death of his father, former President Hafez Assad. He was re-elected without opposition in 2007.