Principlist Faction Preparing  for Presidential Vote

Principlist Faction Preparing for Presidential Vote

The Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces will not field “a desperate contender” for the May 19 presidential elections, a founding member said, noting that the front is set to win the contest in the first round. 
“We need over 50% of votes, not just 5%, 15% or 20%. This strategy is unchangeable and there is no alternative,” ISNA quoted Hamidreza Haji Babaei as saying on Tuesday. Under the two-round voting system, a candidate must win an absolute majority of the votes to win in the first round. If not,  the two candidates with the highest votes go for a runoff.
The principlist front, which was founded in late December by ten figures from across the conservative camp, is likely to pose the most serious challenge to a the reelection bid by President Hassan Rouhani.
Rouhani won the 2013 race in the first round, but hardly met the required threshold to avoid a runoff.
The front’s electoral goal seems to be elusive, as figures from the rival reformist camp seems to have forged a consensus over backing Rouhani. All presidents who finished their first term were reelected for the second and last term. Various principlist groups have joined the PFIRF since its birth. 
Haji Babaei, a former education minister, criticized the incumbent administration for “aristocratic attitudes” among some of its officials, saying the people do not deserve to “suffer from economic hardship and high unemployment.”
Pointing to Iran’s important role in the region and the world, the politician said the 1979 Islamic Revolution is at a “historic juncture” and “needs new blood to continue on its path.”
He went on to say that the front is not merely an electoral coalition and whether it wins or loses the May 19 vote, it will continue to “promote the original ideals of the revolution.
PFIRF is scheduled to convene a nationwide assembly on February 2. 
Those wanting to the contest the presidential race will sign up in the April 11-15 convention. Contenders will have 20 days to campaign from April 28 to May 17, if they pass the vetting process by the powerful Guardian Council, the election watchdog.

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