04/21/2017, 10.56
IRAN
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Rouhani and Raisi to contest presidential elections in Iran, Ahmadinejad excluded

The Guardians Council approved six names out of a total of 1600 aspiring presidents. The nomination of 130 women rescinded, the 2017 vote men only. Economy and nuclear agreement remain the hot topics. Third-term for the former ultra-conservative president blocked, considered a figure "divisive" by Khamenei.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The upcoming presidential elections in Iran, scheduled for May 19, are likely to be between outgoing Head of State Hassan Rouhani, and chief conservative Ebrahim Raisi. The Guardians Council, however, have excluded former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the list, who had submitted for a third term despite the contrary opinion of the great ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In view of the vote, more than 1600 candidates were registered on the electoral rolls to serve as President. However, the Council has only allowed six in total. Other challengers are: the hard line exponent Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, conservative Mostafa Mirsalim, former Minister Mostafa Hashemitaba and Rouhani's ally and former vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri.

Former President Ahmadinejad and his ally and faithful Hamid Baghaie have been excluded.  The candidacy of over 130 women was also rejected. The 2017 presidential elections in Iran will be reserved - as always - to men.

Thus the candidacy of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is definitely over. He returned to the political scene mid-April, announcing to general amazement, his registration on the lists.

Contrary to Khamenei's statement that he had "blocked" his attempts to gain a third term, believing his figure is too "divisive", the ultraconservative leader dismissed the words of supreme leadership as a "advise." However, a few days later the negative opinion of the Guardians Council put an end to his ambitions.

Analysts and experts agree that the upcoming elections will be between moderate Rouhani and conservative Raisi, candidate of the radical wing, and the economic theme, in addition to the nuclear agreement, will be crucial to convincing the electorate.

Rouhani's main challenger is a loyal friend of ayatollah Ali Khamenei's. Defined as the "champion" of the Shiite spiritual leadership and Shi'ite institution of Iran, he is a hard-line exponent who opposes the current leadership. Raisi is the leader of the powerful charity foundation Astan Quds Razavi, the guardian of the Imam Reza mausoleum, one of the most important places for Shiite pilgrims in Mashaad, a northeastern city and the birthplace of the presidential candidate.

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, all the leaders of the Republic have been re-elected for a second term, but the re-election of the outgoing president is not at all desirable, although the conservative and radical faction appears internally fragmented. 

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