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Middle East Assad offers Syrian voters a first: another name on the ballot

Neither President Assad nor his father ever had an electoral challenger – until this year. But any opposition candidate is likely to be a strawman put up to give the vote legitimacy.

By Kristin SolbergCorrespondent / April 14, 2014

Omar Sanadiki / Reuters

Everywhere you look in central Damascus, you see President Bashar al-Assad's face: thoughtful on the T-shirt of a soldier, smiling on a wall, hidden behind sunglasses in a traffic circle. A casual observer might think he is the only candidate in the upcoming presidential election, as he has always been – until this year.