Rouhani Reelection Best Option for Reformists

Rouhani Reelection Best Option for Reformists

A veteran reformist politician praised President Hassan Rouhani's administration for "successful governance", saying extension of his tenure is the only way for continuation of this trend.
Rouhani has been quiet on his candidacy in the upcoming elections, but he is being regarded as a clear-cut contender, as all Iranian presidents who finished their first term have been reelected.
"Under the current conditions, Rouhani is the best option for the continuation of this trend and reformists will back him in the next year's presidential votes," IRNA quoted Mohsen Rohami as saying on Monday.
Rohami echoed the stance of other prominent reformists who seem to have reached consensus over endorsing the incumbent president.
Rouhani won the last presidential race in 2013 when he secured over 50% of the ballots and narrowly avoided a runoff.
Iranian presidents are elected to a four-year tenure that is restricted to eight consecutive years.
In 2013, the reformist candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, stepped down to consolidate the position of the ultimate winner Rouhani.
Rohami urged people to vote for Rouhani in the May 19 presidential polls, saying "people should seek to solve their problems through ballot boxes."
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.
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.

  Principlists Still Weighing Options
Unlike reformists, various principlist groups have been considering names in recent months and have not reached a final, united decision yet.
Mohammad Reza Bahonar, a deputy speaker in the previous Majlis, said on Sunday he is optimistic that principlists can unite behind one candidate.
"Principlists have not made the final decision yet, but I think they generally believe that those who have been put to test in previous presidential elections [and failed to win] should not be supported once again," he said.
"However, [Mohammad Baqer] Qalibaf is a different case," Bahonar said, pointing to the fact that the Tehran mayor has ranked second both times he participated in the presidential elections.
"It seems Qalibaf can be an option, supporting whose candidacy can be discussed again," he said.
Qalibaf, a former police chief who has been leading Tehran Municipality for over a decade, was a candidate in the presidential vote of 2005 and 2013, and was defeated by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Rouhani, respectively.
Bahonar named "competence" and "having voter appeal" as the two major factors for principlists in the selection of their pick for carrying their banner in the presidential marathon.
"Anyone who possesses both of them will be the final candidate of principlists," he said.

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