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Pro-Reform Party: No Real Threat to Rouhani's Reelection

Pro-Reform Party: No Real Threat to Rouhani's ReelectionPro-Reform Party: No Real Threat to Rouhani's Reelection

A senior reformist figure said his camp strongly supports Rouhani's reelection in the upcoming vote, as there is still no serious presidential rival for him.

"He is our candidate and we hope he will earn more votes than in the previous poll," Ali Shakourirad, secretary-general of the Union of Islamic Iran People Party, told IRNA on Thursday.

Rouhani won the 2013 presidential race with just over 50% of the ballots, narrowly avoiding the need for a runoff. Shakourirad described as positive the performance of Rouhani in the past three years, although there are criticisms against him.

"Mr. Rouhani has done more than what we expected and the reformist camp is satisfied with him," he said. "Some reformists are slightly critical of him, but this does not mean that we turn our back to him."

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

Rouhani has been quiet on his candidacy, but he is being regarded as a clear-cut runner, as no Iranian president has ever refused to extend his first term and all of them have been successful in reaching the limit of eight consecutive years of presidency.

Principlists have announced they would not back the incumbent president's reelection and are currently weighting options. Some analysts believe the upcoming vote will not be an uncontested race and a runoff is possible, arguing that Rouhani's 2013 victory was partly the result of divisions among principlists and their failure to field only one contender.

In that election, several principlist candidates entered the contest, including Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the former police chief who rose to prominence as Tehran mayor, and Saeed Jalili, the former secretary of Supreme National Security Council. The two principlist figures ranked second and third in the election, trailing behind Rouhani and leading five other principlists.

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 from April 28 to May 17.

The poll will be held across 31 provinces on May 19, concurrent with the city council elections. According to the law, the Interior Ministry is in charge of conducting elections and the Guardians Council is tasked with supervising polls and vetting the candidates.

Election officials are optimistic that they can replace ballot boxes with voting machines in the 2017 presidential elections.

The previous Majlis elections were to be held electronically in one-third of the polling stations, but legal and security problems prevented it. E-voting helps minimize the possibility of irregularities and accelerates the process of counting ballots.

 

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