Interior Ministry Preparing for May Elections

Ali Pourali MotlaqAli Pourali Motlaq

With about six weeks left to May 19, the Interior Ministry, the body in charge of organizing elections, is busy making preparations for concurrent presidential, city councils and midterm parliamentary votes.

Ali Pourali Motlaq, the secretary of the ministry's Election Headquarters, told IRNA on Monday the period for presidential election registration starts on April 11 and lasts until April 15.

"The Guardians Council, the election watchdog, screens the qualifications of candidates from April 16 to 25, and the ministry will announce the names of qualified candidates on April 26-27," he said.

The 20-day campaigning period for the presidential hopefuls begins on April 28 and ends on May 17.

Hassan Rouhani, the incumbent president, is expected to register to extend his first term for another four years.

In recent months, a number of political figures, including several principlists, have announced their readiness to sign up for the vote.

The Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a recently-founded principlist coalition expected to play a big role in the presidential votes, will form a final five-member shortlist of candidates in its second assembly scheduled for April 6.

For the city council votes, Motlaq said over 287,000 candidates signed up during the registration period of March 20 to 26, marking a 14% increase in the number of hopefuls compared to the 2013 polls.

Over 54,000 signed up for taking more than 9,500 seats of councils of 1,244 cities, and over 232,000 for about 168,000 seats of above 40,000 villages.

Motlaq said the vetting process started on March 27 and will take until April 21, and the results will be announced on April 22.

Would-be council members will have May 11-17 to canvass for votes.

Unlike all other Iranian elections overseen by the Guardians Council, the city council election is supervised by a special parliamentary board, comprising three members of the Majlis Councils and Internal Affairs Commission and two from Majlis Article 90 Commission.

The Interior Ministry has announced that for the city council votes, voting machines will be used in polling stations of over 150 midsized cities, covering one-sixth of the total of 66,000 polling stations and one-third of eligible voters.

But there will be no e-polling in the presidential votes, mainly due to security concerns.

E-polling helps minimize irregularities, accelerates the process of counting ballots and reduces costs.

The registration for midterm parliamentary elections, which will be held in East Azarbaijan, Isfahan and Hormozgan provinces, was conducted from February 26 to March 1.

Motlaq said 282 candidates have signed up, the vetting process of which will be carried out by the Guardians Council until April 7.

The results will be announced on April 8 and the campaigning period for midterm parliamentary polls is the same as city council, May 11-17.

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