TEHRAN, Apr. 15 (Press Shia Agency) – With closing registration for Presidential Elections, there is a clear image of the final, however pre-Guardian Council lineup of candidates, setting aside long list of unknown registrations.
The 5th day now has turned out to show its new names, where heavy-weight figures came finally to submit their names to the Elections Headquarters operating from Interior Ministry in Tehran’s Fatemi Square. The final day’s rather unsurprising registration was definitely of Tehran’s mayor and former IRGC general. Mr. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who said in a statement earlier this month that he was not invited by any parties to run for presidency – interpreted by many as a refrain from registration – found himself endorsed by the national forum of newly-established Popular Front of Islamic Revolutionary Forces just a day later, which provided Mr. Ghalibaf a reason for coming to the fore and run for presidency.
Ghalibaf’s registration would be just to recognize the calls by Popular Front and the mayor would abandon campaign just before the Election Day in May 19 to support Mr. Raeisi as other candidates and possibly Saeid Jalili, an important name in the Principlist camp, would also follow the suit, to invest heavily in Raeisi, the Custodian of Astan Quds, in the battle with President Rouhani.
Notable among the other registrations is by Rouhani’s first VP, Mr. Ishaq Jahangiri. His movement in the last day would puzzle the public of supporters of the government, since Reformist-Moderates would finally coalesce on Rouhani as their single nomination for the elections. Mr. Jahangiri would choose to do what Mr. Mohammad Reza Aref had done back in 2013 Presidential Elections on the demand and recommendation of late Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami.
Mohammad Hashemi, a former IRIB head and brother of late Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was also another prominent candidate nominating for the presidential race. He asserted that he is running independently and would not step aside in favor of anyone.
Mohsen Rohami is a cleric and a major figure of the Association of Combatant Clerics, which is a reformist clerical party and in 1980 acted as a left wing of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political system. He told reporters that he would not be considered as a secondary nomination to Rouhani’s wider sweep among the Reformists, but would act as independent in the campaign.
From among the names endorsed by the Popular Front, former Tehran MP Mehrdad Bazrpash also appeared in Interior Ministry, but told reporters he had refrained from running for presidency. He officially announced this late Saturday when the registration was being closed. Mr. Bazrpash added that he would himself support any final candidate of the general camp of the Principlists and from among those endorsed by the Popular Front.
The final exhaustive list shows a rise in the number of registered individuals in Presidential Elections. This number had more than doubled compared to that in 2013 Presidential Elections of June. 1636 people submitted their names to the Headquarters. Only a handful would be qualified by the Guardian Council as the final candidates to launch their campaign after April 27.