President Bashar al-Assad and two others will be in the fray in the June presidential election, an official with Syria’s Supreme Constitutional Court has said.
Twenty-four candidates had submitted bids to run in the June 3 election that Assad is widely expected to win.
But the court’s spokesman, Majid Khadra, announced on Syrian state television on Sunday that only three applicants met requirements of the election law to run.
Assad, who is seeking a third seven-year term, will face Hassan bin Abdullah al-Nouri, a 54-year-old member of parliment from Damascus, and 43-year-old Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, an MP from the northern city of Aleppo.
Both Hajjar and Nouri are largely unknown to the Syrian public.
Candidates whose bids were rejected have until May 7 to appeal the court’s decision.
While the election is the country’s first multi-candidate vote, the rules effectively rule out all opponents to Assad’s regime from running.
Anyone who has lived outside Syria in the past decade is excluded, effectively barring most prominent opposition figures, who live in exile.
The vote will only be held in areas under government control.
The election is being held amid a brutal civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people since March 2011 and made millions homeless.
The regime has barred refugees who left the country “illegally” from voting.