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Syrian opposition figures urge voters to boycott this week's parliament election
BEIRUT (AP) ' Exiled opposition leaders are asking Syrians to boycott an upcoming parliamentary election they dismiss as a cynical attempt by President Bashar Assad to hold on to power.
The regime portrays Monday's vote as a sign of its willingness to carry out democratic reforms. Voting for the 250-seat parliament follows the adoption of a constitution that permitted the formation of competing political parties.
Assad's opponents say reforms without their input are a farce and that elections cannot be held under the threat of guns. A U.N.-brokered truce last month failed to halt a regime crackdown on a 14-month-old uprising against Assad.
Two senior opposition figures in exile, Haytham Manna and Haitham Maleh, said Sunday that Syrians should not participate in the vote.