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Campaigning wraps up for Syria vote set to sweep Assad to power

Syrians walk under a giant campaign billboard for President Bashar al-Assad on June 1, 2014 in Hamidiyeh market in DamascusSyria entered its final day of campaigning on Sunday for the June 3 presidential election expected to return Bashar al-Assad to power, a vote the opposition brands a “parody of democracy”. With swathes of the country out of government control, voting will only take place in regime-held territory, far from where Assad’s forces are battling the rebels who seek to topple him. The fragmented opposition, and their Western and Arab allies, are set to watch powerlessly as the ballot returns Assad to power for a third, seven-year term at a time when the army is making advances on the battlefield. The rebels have urged Syrians to boycott the vote in which Assad’s sole competitors, MP Maher al-Hajjar, and businessman Hassan al-Nouri — are little known and seen as token rivals.

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