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Rafsanjani Will Endorse No Candidate in Elections
National

Rafsanjani Will Endorse No Candidate in Elections

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said he will not endorse any candidate in the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections scheduled to be held concurrently on Feb. 26, 2016.
However, the chairman of Expediency Council said he will introduce "certain criteria" based on which voters can decide to vote for the best candidates.
He made the remarks in an interview with ISNA published on Sunday.   
The former president said due to his age he will not stand as a candidate for the parliamentary election. However, about the other election, Rafsanjani said his decision depends on whether or not he comes up with the conclusion that his presence in the assembly would be necessary to help preserve the interests of the Islamic Revolution.   
"My soul is tied to the Islamic Revolution, and in case I feel it is at stake, I will make every effort to help avert the danger."
The senior politician said he has no intention to be on the presiding board of the Assembly of Experts.
Describing the election of the assembly as a "sensitive" process, he said factional preferences should not be allowed to influence the election.
"Ones who follow fractional approaches toward the election (of the clerical body) are betraying the Islamic Revolution," he noted, adding that by doing so, they actually undermine the foundations of the revolution.  In fair elections, Rafsanjani said, no one dares to ignore national interests by resorting to factionalist pretexts, and consequently the people's views will prevail.
"I believe the public do not approve of extremist approaches and dogmatic agendas," especially given the high rate of educated people in the population, he noted.
  Clear as Daylight   
Asked to provide advice to the government, which is tasked with conducting elections, on the mechanism for holding sound elections, Rafsanjani said the general policies of elections bar the military and state organizations from taking any measures in the interest of a certain individual or political party.
"It is clear as daylight that no one is allowed to interfere with the votes of the people."   
Answering a question about his possible connection with the reformists, Rafsanjani said every now and then, depending on the conditions, some parties have associated themselves with his thoughts.
He said he personally prefers a party that is more closely associated with his line of thinking, saying presently the reformists are closer to him than the principlists.  Political parties in Iran mainly consist of two alliances, the conservatives and the reformists, both coming from the former Islamic Republic Party. The principlists, or conservatives, are characterized by their firm adherence to the principles of the Islamic Revolution.
The reformists are a political movement including a group of political parties and organizations who supported former president Mohammad Khatami's plans to bring about political reforms and promote civil liberties.  

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