DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria's state TV says the parliament has unanimously approved a new election law allowing multiple candidates for president, opening doors to other potential candidates besides President Bashar Assad.
The vote comes nearly four months before Assad's seven-year term as president officially expires. Syrian officials say the presidential elections will be held on time and Assad has suggested he would run again.
The bill adopted Thursday says only candidates who lived in Syria for 10 years prior to nomination can run. The TV didn't say how many lawmakers voted for the bill.
Syria has been ruled by the Baath party since it seized power in a 1963 coup.
Past presidential elections under Assad and his late father, Hafez Assad, were de-facto referendums with one of the Assads being the sole candidate.