Saturday, November 13, 2004

Iran's presidential election set for May 13

IranMania News: "Iran's presidential election set for May 13

Monday, November 08, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Nov 8 (IranMania) - Iran's Interior Ministry has fixed Friday May 13 as the date for the next presidential election, an official spokesman was quoted as saying Sunday.

The student news agency ISNA quoted Jahanbakhsh Khanjani as saying the Ministry had announced the date in a letter to top regime officials also involved in preparing for the polls.

Iran's current president, the mild-mannered moderate cleric Mohammad Khatami, is nearing the end of his second consecutive and therefore final term and speculation is mounting over who will run for the job.

All would-be candidates need to be vetted by the Guardians Council, an unelected conservative-controlled body that vets all legislation and those seeking public office.

Last month the body stood by its interpretation of a single but ambiguous word in the constitution that it says excludes women for standing for the presdidency.

The embattled reformist movement had been trying to persuade former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Moussavi to be their candidate, but he has refused.

On the conservative side, potential candidates include former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, now an advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Other names cited include top national security official Hassan Rowhani and former state media chief Ali Larijani.

Powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has also been openly mulling whether or not to stand again for the presidency.

Rafsanjani served two terms as president from 1989 to 1997, and is allowed to stand for a third because the law only bars presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms. The charismatic cleric currently heads Iran's top political arbitration body, the Expediency Council."