Candidates Lodge Complaints at Election Monitoring Body

The first presidential debate was held on Friday.The first presidential debate was held on Friday.

President Hassan Rouhani, a contender in the forthcoming presidential election, has filed a complaint with Iran's Election Campaign Monitoring Committee about allegations leveled by another candidate against him during a live TV debate.

Hesameddin Ashena, the cultural advisor to the president, told ISNA on Sunday the complaint was lodged after presidential candidate, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, leveled three accusations against Rouhani, Press TV reported. He noted that Rouhani complained to the committee that he was not given enough time to respond to Qalibaf's accusations. Ashena hoped that the committee would process the complaint.

During the first live debate among the six presidential candidates on Friday, Qalibaf claimed that Rouhani had failed to fulfill his promises to solve the country's economic problems during his first 100 days in office and create four million jobs.

The Tehran mayor also claimed that an Iranian billionaire, who is currently in prison for fraud and money laundering among other charges, had helped Rouhani during his presidential campaign four years ago.

Rouhani denied all the accusations in the debate.

Meanwhile, a political advisor to Qalibaf told ISNA on Sunday the current mayor of Tehran has filed a complaint with the committee.

"One of the issues of the complaint was that Rouhani was given two minutes more [than other candidates] to speak," Hossein Qorbanzadeh said.

He cast doubt on the impartiality of the moderator, Morteza Heidari, during the Friday presidential debate.

Qorbanzadeh said at the end of the legal time given to each candidate, the moderator cautioned them and stopped them from making extra comments, but he waited for President Rouhani to end his remarks.

"There are also speculations about the role of the moderator in Rouhani's campaign meetings," he said. "Therefore, we believe that the moderator of the debate must be changed."

He noted that the committee did not give time to Qalibaf to respond to accusations leveled by Rouhani and another presidential candidate and the current first vice president, Es'haq Jahangiri.

Another presidential hopeful, Ebrahim Raeisi, also on Sunday filed a written complaint with the committee. Raeisi has complained about the procedure of the first live debate.

The head of the election office of Mostafa Mirsalim, another presidential candidate, said a letter had been sent to the polls monitoring committee in protest at the way various issues were raised in the debate, which had nothing to do with the main subject of the debate.

Mohammad Ali Amani added that Mirsalim had spoken on issues assigned to him within the framework of the debate's topics, but other candidates did not observe that framework. Amani added that Mirsalim's election office had not filed a complaint with the committee, but simply asked the committee to determine the format of the next debate and make candidates strictly observe it.

The first debate among the six candidates in the May 19 presidential election was aired live on state television last Friday. The broadcast, which lasted for three hours, aimed to reduce the candidates' campaign spending and pave the way for eligible voters to make their choice based on the plans laid out by the candidates during the program.


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