Syria holds a parliamentary election under the new constitution on Monday as the country gropes for an exit from its deadly unrest.
Syrian authorities said the government has taken all necessary steps to protect the election, which sees 7,195 candidates from 12 political parties competing for the 250 parliamentary seats.
In March, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree to hold a parliamentary election on May 7. The current parliament's term expired in March 2011, but has been extended in accordance with the country's new constitution.
As part of the Syrian government's reform program aimed at quelling the country's bloody unrest, the parliamentary election is the first under the new constitution, which ended the monopoly on power of Assad's Baath Party and allows a multi-party system.
The election comes two days after several blasts rocked the suburb of the Syrian capital and northern Aleppo province, leaving nine people dead and several others injured.
Meanwhile, in Damascus, government troops on Saturday used tear gas to disperse thousands of people attending a mass funeral after Damascus and Aleppo were hit by blasts.
Syria's state media said "terrorists" linked to the opposition perpetrated Saturday's attacks in order to cause instability ahead of the parliamentary vote.
However, the opposition blamed the government for two bomb blasts in Damascus and one in Aleppo on Saturday.
The conflict-torn country has witnessed 13 months of unrest since March last year when a large-scale uprising against Assad began, and violence has notably ramped up recently despite the presence of UN monitors.
UN observers arrived in Syria three weeks ago to shore up a ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan, who set forward a six-point peace plan aimed to end the Syria crisis.
Annan's plan, which came into effect on April 12, calls on all sides of the conflict to halt violence to pave the way for a conclusive dialogue between the government and the opposition.
Fifty UN observers tour several areas across Syria every day, with some of them stationed in the tensest regions such as central Homs and Hama, and northern Idlib.