Assad Not To Relinquish Power at Geneva Talks
The Syrian premier is to run for a third presidential term after three years of civil war (Reuters)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to seek a third seven-year term at the helm of the war-torn country after formally submitting his nomination for the forthcoming elections.

The announcement was made by parliamentary speaker Mohammad al-Laham, who delivered the letter to the country's constitutional court.

"I ... Dr Bashar Hafez al Assad ... wish to nominate myself for the post of president of the republic, hoping that parliament will endorse it," a letter submitted by Assad to the Syrian constitutional court read.

Assad has been in power in Syria since 2000 and is the favourite to win another term as a three-year civil war continues to rage.

He will run against other six candidates, although none of the challenges are expected to bring an end to four decades of the Assad family's rule over the country.

After the announcement of his nomination, the president released a statement declaring that any "demonstration of joy expressed by supporters of any candidate for the presidency should be responsible.

"We are living in an atmosphere of elections which Syria is holding for the first time in its modern history."

Notable opposition leaders who live in exile are barred from standing in the election because of a constitutional clause which only allows candidates to run if they have lived in Syria for 10 consecutive years.

The Syrian constitution also demands that any candidate in an election must have the support of 35 members of the pro-Assad parliament, effectively removing any opposition voices from the election.

The election has been criticised by opponents as a farce, a parody and unrepresentative of the Syrian population of 16 million, with more than 2.5 million having fled the country as refugees and 6 million displaced in the unrest.

Approximately 150,000 people have died in the civil war with more than three million people denied vital medical aid.