Principlists Can’t Win Elections Alone

National Desk
Principlists Can’t Win Elections AlonePrinciplists Can’t Win Elections Alone

A well-known principlist politician said that without forming an electoral coalition, principlist parties cannot win the next year's presidential and city council elections.

"Past experience, including that of the 2013 presidential elections, shows that if we enter the race divided, there would be no hope of winning," Mohammad Nabi Habibi, secretary-general of the Islamic Coalition Party, also told a gathering of party members in Tehran on Sunday, IRNA reported.

In the presidential vote of 2013, the principlist camp fielded several candidates, including Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the former police chief who rose to prominence as Tehran's mayor, and Saeed Jalili, the former secretary of Supreme National Security Council.

But the vote count placed Qalibaf and Jalili second and third respectively, trailing behind Hassan Rouhani who secured just over 50% of the ballots and narrowly avoided a runoff.

Habibi said although he believes the principlist camp should have a united front in the two upcoming polls, the party will soon start its search for suitable candidates, likely from its own members.

"The Islamic Coalition Party will have [its own] candidates and if a coalition was formed, we will propose them to it," he said. "If the principlist bloc chooses other hopefuls, we will obey."

The next presidential and city council elections will be held concurrently on May 19, 2017.

Candidates for the next presidential elections can sign up from April 11 to 15 and those who successfully pass the vetting process of the Guardians Council will have 20 days to mount their electoral campaigns, i.e. from April 28 to May 17.

As per the law, the Interior Ministry is in charge of organizing elections and the Guardians Council is tasked with supervising polls and vetting the candidates.

Rouhani's tenure may end in July 2017, if he, unexpectedly, refuses to seek reelection or is defeated by a principlist candidate.

Reformist politicians, whose candidate in the 2013 votes, Mohammad Reza Aref, withdrew in favor of Rouhani, seem to have reached consensus over backing the incumbent president's reelection.