Six candidates in the fray for Iran presidential polls after death of Ebrahim Raisi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad barred

The candidates announced by the interior ministry were selected from 80 registered hopefuls by the Guardian Council and disqualified former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Livemint
Published9 Jun 2024, 10:33 PM IST
FILE - An Iranian woman holds a poster of the late President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran on May 20, 2024. While the cause of the May 19 crash remains unknown, the sudden death of the hard-line protégé of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei exposed the contradictions and challenges facing the country's Shiite theocracy. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
FILE - An Iranian woman holds a poster of the late President Ebrahim Raisi during a mourning ceremony for him at Vali-e-Asr square in downtown Tehran, Iran on May 20, 2024. While the cause of the May 19 crash remains unknown, the sudden death of the hard-line protégé of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei exposed the contradictions and challenges facing the country’s Shiite theocracy. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)(AP)

Iran has greenlit a presidential contest with six candidates in the fray following the death of Ebrahim Raisi last month. The candidates announced by the interior ministry were selected from 80 registered hopefuls by the Guardian Council and disqualified former hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The selected candidates will now mount a shortened two-week campaign to replace the hardline leader killed in May by a chopper crash. 

The selection of candidates was approved by the Guardian Council — a panel of clerics and jurists ultimately overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The latests developments appear to suggest that the country's theocratic administration hopes to ease the elections through a turbulent time. Parliamentary polls in March saw turnout hit a record low as tensions remain high over the country’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, as well as the Israel-Hamas war.

The list of candidates included former Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf who has unsuccessfully run for post in 2005 and 2013. He withdrew from the 2017 presidential campaign to support Raisi in his first failed presidential bid. The former Guard general was part of a violent crackdown on Iranian university students in 1999 and reportedly ordered live gunfire to be used against students in 2003 while serving as the country’s police chief.

ALSO READ: What’s on horizon for Iran’s government after Ebrahim Raisi’s death?

Speculative reports however suggest that he is backed by the country's Supreme Leader with supporters highlighting a speech given by Khamenei last week.

Over the next two weeks, the six selected candidates are likely to engage in live, televised debates on the country's state-run broadcaster in the coming days. They can also advertise on billboards and offer stump speeches to back their bids.

Raisi had won the 2021 election — which had the lowest turnout ever for a presidential vote in Iran — after every major opponent found themselves disqualified. A hard-line protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he was once floated as a possible successor for the 85-year-old cleric.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published:9 Jun 2024, 10:33 PM IST
HomeNewsWorldSix candidates in the fray for Iran presidential polls after death of Ebrahim Raisi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad barred

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