Vetting of Presidential Hopefuls Starts

After vetting more than 1,600 nominees who registered for the presidential election, the Guardians Council will release the final list of contenders on April 27
Abbasali KadkhodaeiAbbasali Kadkhodaei

With the five-day registration period ending on Saturday, the Guardians Council, the presidential election watchdog, started screening applications of hopefuls for the May presidential race on Sunday.

According to Article 115 of Iran's Constitution, the president must be "a religious and political personality" who holds Iranian nationality, has administrative capacity and a good past record, and believes in fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Abbasali Kadkhodaei, the council's spokesman, told reporters during a visit to the Interior Ministry's Election Headquarters on Saturday that many of the hopefuls would "certainly" be disqualified, as they do not possess even basic requirements, IRNA reported.

Candidates need at least seven affirmative votes in the 12-member council to successfully pass the vetting.

It has until April 20 to complete its scrutiny, but the period can be extended to April 25 and the list of qualified candidates will be announced by April 27. Ali Asghar Ahmadi, the head of Election Headquarters, said after the end of registration that 1,636 individuals, including 137 women, had put their names down, with their ages ranging from 18 to 92.

It showed a sharp increase in the number of participants compared to the 2013 race, for which only 686 candidates submitted their names.

The main contenders are the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and Ebrahim Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH).

Other well-known entrants, provided they are verified by the Guardians Council, include Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his former deputy Hamid Baqaei and Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former head of state broadcaster and brother of the late president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The city council and midterm parliamentary elections will be held concurrently with the presidential vote on May 19.

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