TEHRAN, April 13. /TASS/. More than 500 people have been registered by the Iranian Interior Ministry as candidates for the upcoming presidential election, set for May 19, Secretary of the Election Headquarters, Ali Purali, said on Thursday.
According to official sources, the favorites in the election campaign that kicked off on Tuesday are President Hasan Rouhani and the main conservative challenger Ebrahim Raisi. However, they have not registered so far, nevertheless, the frontrunners have until April 15.
On Wednesday, ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was registered as a candidate stirring up a public response along with numerous negative comments. Last year, the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei advised him against running for president. The Iranian leader believes this could be "unreasonable and inexpedient" as it "would split Iranian society in two polar opposites."
Under the law on presidential elections, a candidate must be Iranian by birth and citizenship, a respected religious and political figure, a competent, virtuous individual committed to the principles of Islamic revolution and the official religion (Shiite Islam), in addition, this person must have solid reputation. This rather general wording explains that scores of people may seek the presidency.
People of various professions, ranging from legislators to actors and TV anchormen are eligible to get a candidate’s ID. There are 13 women among the registered candidates, as Iranian legislation does not prevent them from obtaining state positions.
The candidates’ registration started on April 11 and will end on April 15. After that, a final list of candidates whose names will be put on the ballot papers to be approved by the supervisory council that will rigorously shorten the list. Historical practice from previous presidential campaigns shows that the council strikes off most candidates from the list, leaving some ten people who it deems most deserving to run.