Principlist Candidate Outlines Electoral Strategy

Principlist Candidate Outlines Electoral Strategy

A principlist candidate for the upcoming presidential election said he disagrees that having only one principlist contender in the May 19 polls is in their interest, arguing that fielding several candidates will increase their chances of winning the race.
Mostafa Mirsalim, the first official presidential hopeful representing the Islamic Coalition Party whose candidacy was announced late December, made the statement in an interview with ISNA published on Monday.
The veteran politician hinted that the key to a principlist victory is taking the race to the second round.
"We should seek greater public participation in elections. The more candidates out there, the more will be the voter turnout. Broader participation splits votes, which may lead to a runoff. If so, then it will be time for a principlist coalition," he said.
Under the two-round voting system, a candidate must win an absolute majority of votes to win in the first round. If not, the two candidates with the highest number of votes go for a runoff.
The scenario is similar to what happened in the 2005 election race, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a little-known figure who had become Tehran mayor in 2003, managed to defeat the late Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president and influential politician, in the first presidential runoff in the history of Iran.
However, principlists seem to be careful not to repeat the 2013 defeat, when negative competition among several principlist candidates paved Rouhani's path to victory, as he avoided the runoff by a slight margin.
The last-minute withdrawal of Mohammad Reza Aref, the reformist candidate, also assisted Rouhani's victory. A government official announced on Sunday that Rouhani will enter the presidential race to extend his tenure and reach the limit of eight consecutive years as president.
Once again, Rouhani has the support of reformists, who seem to be satisfied with his performance and are apparently unanimous over backing his reelection. Another factor boosting Rouhani's chance is that none of his predecessors had failed in their reelection bids.
The Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a new principlist bloc founded late December, is expected to play a big role in the May 19 presidential poll. It held its first assembly last week and is currently making a shortlist of 10 potential candidates to select one.
Hopefuls for the presidential race should sign up from April 11 to 15 and those who successfully pass the vetting process will have 20 days to stage their electoral campaigns from April 28 to May 17.
The city council and midterm parliamentary polls will be held concurrent with the presidential elections.
The Guardians Council is in charge of vetting candidates and supervising all elections, except the city council votes, and the Interior Ministry is tasked with conducting them.


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