DAMASCUS, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The campaigns for Syria's presidential elections will officially kick off on May 11, Syria's supreme constitutional court said on Saturday.
The court notified that the final three candidates for the presidential elections to start their campaigns from May 11 to June 2, a day ahead of the June 3 presidential vote.
Majed Khadra, the court's spokesman, said the court had reviewed petitions filed by contenders who have been declared ineligible for candidacy last week, adding that the court's decision hasn't changed.
He repeated that only three out of the 24 runners for the elections were eligible for candidacy, namely Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri and incumbent President Bashar al- Assad.
Maher Abdul-Hafiz Hajjar, a Syrian parliamentarian, was the first to submit application for the presidential elections. According to the state news agency SANA, Hajjar was born in Aleppo in 1968, hailing from a family well-known in religious teaching.
Meanwhile, Hassan Abdullah al-Nouri, 54, declared his candidacy for the June 3 elections a day after lawmaker Hajjar announced his bid for the top post.
Al-Nouri served as the minister of administrative development and minister of state for parliamentary affairs from 2000 to 2002. He also served as the general secretary of the Chamber of Industry from 1997 to 2000, and was a member of Syrian Parliament from 1998 to 2003.
Those two people, who haven't been publicly known ahead of the elections, are now running against Assad, who was the seventh to register his candidacy.
Assad was unanimously nominated by the Syrian parliament to be president in 2000, following the death of his father, former president Hafez Assad. He was re-elected without opposition in 2007.
The timing of the presidential polls has raised the ire of the Syrian opposition and their regional and international backers, who have labeled the upcoming poll a "parody of democracy."
Government officials said Assad is the "real guarantee" for the future of Syria, hinting that despite a barrage of criticism, Assad has a high chance to be re-elected for a third seven-year term.