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Electoral Landscape Taking Shape

Electoral Landscape Taking Shape Electoral Landscape Taking Shape

With the end of the Iranian New Year holidays and while about six weeks are left to the May 19 polls, the race for presidency is beginning to warm up and the field of candidates is gradually taking form.

Several political figures have announced their intention to sign up for the presidential election, while some have tried to test the water by signaling their interest in doing so and a few others are rumored to be weighing up candidacy.

However, doubts and questions will come to an end in the coming days, as candidates have to sign up for the election during April 11-15.

According to a report by Tasnim News Agency, 10 figures have so far declared their candidacy in the May polls.

Hassan Rouhani, the incumbent president, is first on the list. Although he has been quiet on the elections, his decision to seek reelection was announced late February by his deputy for parliamentary affairs, Hosseinali Amiri.

The list also includes Ezzatollah Zarghami, the former head of Iran's state broadcaster, Hamid Baqaei, a deputy of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, a lawmaker and former science minister under Ahmadinejad, Seyyed Mohammad Gharazi, a former oil and communications minister, Mostafa Mirsalim, a principlist politician, Amrollah Sheikhiaei, a pro-government politician, lawmaker Mostafa Kavakebian, and reformist figures Mohammad Zare' Foumani and Mohammad Ashrafi Esfahani.

On the prospective candidates, Tasnim names Ebrahim Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza [PBUH] and former prosecutor general, Saeed Jalili, the former head of Iran's nuclear negotiating team under Ahmadinejad and Mohsen Rezaei, the former head of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and current secretary of Expediency Council.

Deputy Majlis speakers Ali Motahhari and Massoud Pezeshkian, principlist politician Mehrdad Bazrpash, the former oil minister under Ahmadinejad, Rostam Qasemi, lawmaker Hamidreza Haji-Babaei, former housing minister under Ahmadinejad, Ali Nikzad, are also included in the list of possible candidates.  

Qalibaf, Jalili, Rezaei and Gharazi participated in the previous presidential election in 2013 and were defeated by Rouhani, who earned just above 50% of the votes and narrowly avoided a runoff.

Rouhani already has the support of reformists and his chances of reelection are considered high, as no president who finished his first term has ever failed in his second presidential attempt.

The Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a recently-founded principlist coalition expected to play a big role in the presidential poll, will hold its second assembly on today, in which its members are to release a final five-member shortlist of options the bloc could endorse in the race.

From April 16 to 25, the Guardians Council, the election watchdog, will study the candidates' political backgrounds and decide whether they are eligible to run in the election, and the Interior Ministry will announce the names of qualified candidates on April 26-27.

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

 

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