Workers hang banners for Hassan Abdallah al-Nouri in front of a banner for President Bashar al-Assad on a street in Damascus May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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Syria's presidential election campaign, launched at the weekend, has transformed the streets of Damascus into a glorification of incumbent Bashar al-Assad, who is expected to easily win the June 3 vote.For the first time, Assad faces an election rather than a referendum for the post, but with the two other candidates virtually unknown, the competition appears more like a one-horse race.In a country where the cult of personality surrounding Bashar and his father and predecessor Hafez has been built up for nearly 50 years, Syrians are used to towering posters of the Assads.Alongside the slogan "Assad's Syria," other posters in the city announce that the president is "the only choice" for the ballot, which will only take place in areas controlled by government troops.One sign near Damascus's opera house announces that Assad has become not only "the choice of journalists and intellectuals," but also for "investors and entrepreneurs".Interviewed in public, few Syrians express plans to vote for anyone but Assad.
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