April 30 - With some party restrictions lifted, thousands of candidates are competing for seats in Syria's parliamentary elections next week. Lindsey Parietti reports.
Amid an uprising, Syria gears up for elections. The parliamentary vote scheduled for Monday will be the first in 40 years. Thousands of candidates are vying for 250 seats. As President Bashar al-Assad clings to power, one voter said he hoped new officials would represent the people. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN MAN, RAMI FARAH, SAYING: "I hope the candidates would be the right people in the right place in order to respond to the citizens' needs, not to be sitting in their offices without doing anything. I hope they give jobs to people." Previously only parties that belonged to the National Progressive Front were allowed to field candidates. But opponents of Assad say Syria's new constitution, approved by referendum in February, is illegal - and insist the president must give up power. The last parliament's term has been extended more than a year and the elections postponed during the uprising that has claimed thousands of lives. Lindsey Parietti, Reuters