Iran registers presidential candidates for early vote after Raisi’s death

Published May 30, 2024
Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi speaks at a candidates’ registration office in Tehran on May 30. — AFP
Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi speaks at a candidates’ registration office in Tehran on May 30. — AFP

Iran on Thursday began registering candidates for an early election next month following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV.

Once seen as a possible successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — Iran’s ageing ultimate decision-maker — Raisi’s sudden death triggered a race among hardliners to influence the selection of Iran’s next leader.

After the five-day registration period, the Guardian Council, which oversees elections and legislation, will vet the candidates running for the presidency. “The vetting process will be seven days and then qualified candidates will have almost two weeks for the election campaign,” Vahidi told state TV.

The Guardian Council will publish the list of qualified candidates on June 11.

Moderate politicians have accused the 12-member hardline Guardian Council of disqualifying rivals to hardline candidates, who are expected to dominate the upcoming presidential race.

Turnout may be hit by restricted choice on the ballot and rising discontent over an array of political, social and economic crises.

Within Iran’s complex mix of clerical rulers and elected officials, Khamenei has the final say on all state matters such as nuclear and foreign policies, but the elected president will be in charge of tackling worsening economic hardship.

The registration of candidates could include Parviz Fattah, a former Guards member who heads an investment fund linked to the leader and Saeed Jalili, a former chief nuclear negotiator who in 2001 ran Khamenei’s office for four years, insiders said.

Interim President Mohammad Mokhber and Khamenei adviser and former parliament speaker Ali Larijani have also been mentioned in Iranian media as possible candidates. Larijani was barred from standing in the 2021 presidential race.

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