Syria announces elections, opposition cynical

Amid a festering civil war in the West Asian country, the Syrian government has announced that it will conduct a presidential election on June 3.  The announcement has been greeted with derision by the opposition, which has slammed it as absurd and “a parody of democracy.”

In a televised speech, the speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad al-Laham, announced the election date and exhorted Syrians to choose their leader even as he accused unnamed foreign actors of distorting and disrupting “our path and our political and democratic choice.”

The United Nations-backed talks in Geneva collapsed in February as a compromise agreement eluded the rebels and the government on the crucial question of whether Assad should step down.