The election is widely expected to keep regime leader Bashar al Assad in power for fourth seven-year term. It is unclear whether any candidates will run against him but any such runs would be symbolic.

Members of the Syrian parliament meet to discuss upcoming presidential election, in the capital Damascus, on April 18, 2021.
Members of the Syrian parliament meet to discuss upcoming presidential election, in the capital Damascus, on April 18, 2021. (AFP)

Syria is to hold a presidential election on May 26, the parliament speaker announced, the country's second vote in the shadow of a civil war.

Syrians abroad will be "able to vote at embassies" on May 20, Hamouda Sabbagh said in a statement, adding that the window for nominations will be open for 10 days starting Monday.

The election is widely expected to give regime leader Bashar al Assad a fourth seven-year term. It is unclear whether any candidates will run against him but any such runs would be symbolic.

READ MORE: Ruling Baath party wins Syria parliamentary elections

The United States last month warned Assad that the Biden administration will not recognise the result of its presidential election unless the voting is free, fair, supervised by the United Nations and represents all of Syrian society.

Assad, who took power following the death of his father Hafez in 2000, has not yet officially announced that he will stand for re-election.

He won a previous election three years into Syria's devastating civil war in 2014, with 88 percent of the vote.

Under Syria's 2012 constitution, a president may only serve two seven-year terms –– with the exception of the president elected in the 2014 poll.

Candidates must have lived continuously in Syria for at least 10 years, meaning that opposition figures in exile are barred from standing.

Candidates must also have the backing of at least 35 members of the parliament, which is dominated by Assad's Baath party.

READ MORE: NRC: Expect six million more human displacements in Syria

This year's vote comes after Russian-backed Syrian regime forces re-seized the vital northern city of Aleppo and other opposition-held areas, placing Damascus in control of two-thirds of the country.

But the poll also comes amid a crushing economic crisis.

Syria has been in the throes of civil war since 2011, when Arab Spring-inspired protests against the Assad family rule turned into an armed insurgence in response to a brutal military crackdown.

The decade-long civil war has left at least 388,000 people dead and half of the population displaced.

READ MORE: What Biden’s Syria policy might look like

Source: TRTWorld and agencies