Aref Defends Tehran City Council List of Candidates

Aref Defends Tehran City Council List of CandidatesAref Defends Tehran City Council List of Candidates

Head of Reformist Policymaking Council Mohammad Reza Aref said the body has picked its candidates for the upcoming Tehran City Council election through a democratic mechanism, urging fellow reformists critical of the list to respect "collective wisdom".

"The final list took shape by the votes of council members and those included have not been selected arbitrarily," IRNA quoted him as saying in a Thursday meeting with 21 hopefuls included in the list of candidates released last Monday.

Most notable figures are Mohsen Hashemi, the son of the late Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former chairman of Tehran Metro, former culture minister, Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, former deputy interior minister, Mahmoud Mirlohi, and former lawmakers Ebrahim Amini and Shahrbanoo Amini.

The list has drawn objections from reformists and moderates who believe it would not appeal to voters, as many members are not well-known and lack related work experience.

"Our decision was based on collective wisdom and such a decision should be abided by," Aref said. "We should not defy the reformist agenda just because we are not on the list."

Several pro-reform factions and moderates allied with the policymaking council in the 2016 Majlis elections have released separate lists of candidates, including the Council for Coordinating Reformist Parties and the Independents and Moderates Front.

On Wednesday, the principlist Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces announced its list for the city council vote, whose top candidate is Mehdi Chamran, the incumbent chairman of the council.

Over 2,700 hopefuls have been qualified for the Tehran council vote, out of about 3,000 applicants. Would-be councilors have launched their campaigns on Thursday. Iranian city councils are in charge of electing the mayor, supervising the municipality and approving its budget.

Overall, there are 39,575 councilor seats in 1,245 cities, 1,057 counties and 2,589 villages.

The poll is scheduled for May 19, concurrent with the presidential and midterm parliamentary elections.


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