DAMASCUS, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad on Thursday branded the western rejection of the upcoming presidential elections in Syria as "insolence" and " interference" in the Syrians' decision.
"Their (western powers) insolence has reached to a point of interfering in the Syrians' decision to partake or not in the presidential elections," Mekdad said, stressing that "we will carry out these elections because the Syrian people want these elections."
His remarks came at a time when the war-torn country is bracing for the elections due in July amid objection from the Western backers of the Syrian opposition, who called the elections a " parody of democracy."
Mekdad said his government "will take into consideration all of the standards and values that have been adopted in the latest electoral law."
Last month, the Syrian parliament approved a general election bill that has given other candidates, along with President Bashar al-Assad, an opportunity to run in the elections, but it also shuns aside most of the opposition figures, as the new law provides that the candidate for presidency must have lived in Syria for 10 consecutive years prior to nomination, a condition that cannot be met by the exiled opposition, whose members have been living outside Syria for long time.
Assad himself, whose second term will expire on July 17, hasn't yet announced whether he plans to run in the presidential elections, but he has reportedly expressed interest in running again for a third seven-year-term.
Observers believe that Assad is likely to be re-elected as no one has so far shown intention to run against him, despite the Western calls for him to leave office.
The Syrian government has repeatedly blasted countries that called on Assad to step down, saying such demands encroach upon Syria's sovereignty and the Syrian people's rights of self- determination.