Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said banning Assad from running would be against democracy.
‘‘The president and many other candidates who may run will go to the people ... and be elected by the people,’’ Mekdad said in English during an interview with the BBC. ‘‘The ballot box will be the place where the future of the leadership of Syria will be decided.’’
The international envoy tasked with Syria’s crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, has proposed a plan to end Syria’s war with a cease-fire followed by the formation of a transitional government to run the country until new elections can be held.
Brahimi did not mention Assad by name, but said the transitional government would have ‘‘full executive powers’’ and would replace the Syrian leader.
Earlier this month, Assad dismissed calls that he step down and vowed to keep fighting.
The opposition says that Assad can play no role in a resolution to the conflict.
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi arrived on Tuesday in Iran, Syria’s strongest ally in the region, to discuss the country’s crisis.
Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, and Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.