Saturday, December 25, 2004

Velyati and Larijani Ahead in early Polling - Moein and Karrubi lag behind

Reformists will finally reach a consensus on a presidential candidate: cleric: "Reformists will finally reach a consensus on a presidential candidate: cleric
TEHRAN, Dec. 25 (MNA) -- The secretary of the Assembly of Researchers and Teachers of the Qom Seminary, Hossein Musavi Tabrizi, said on Saturday that former Majlis speaker Mahdi Karrubi will certainly run in the presidential election and this is very useful.
“We welcome the candidacy of all those who are qualified, but finally we field only one candidate,” Tabrizi told the Mehr News Agency.

He predicted that the reformist faction will eventually reach a consensus on a candidate.

The cleric said that convincing people that their vote has the final say is the best way to encourage people to turn out in large numbers for the presidential election scheduled to be held in late spring.

He added that serious and healthy competition is another key to achieving a massive turnout.

So far, the reformist Assembly of Combatant Clerics (ACC) has pushed for the candidacy of Karrubi and the Islamic Iran Participation Party (IIPP), the main reformist party in Iran, has thrown its weight behind the candidacy of former science minister Mostafa Moein.

The conservatives have announced that they will soon field a single candidate from among five potential candidates on their short list: former IRIB TV director Ali Larijani, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, MP Ahmad Tavakoli, Tehran Mayor Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad, and Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Reza’i.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the conservative Combatant Clerical Association (CCA), Qolamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam, told MNA on Saturday that it is still not clear which one of the five potential candidates has the best chance of becoming the conservative camp’s nominee, adding that the results of opinion polls are also not clear.

But Maryam Behruzi, the secretary general of the Zeinab Society, a women’s association, told MNA on Saturday that opinion polls conducted so far in Tehran and other cities show that respondents favor Velayati and Larijani over the other three potential candidates of the conservative camp. She added that Larijani and Velayati were about even in the opinion polls.

In another survey in which Moein and Karrubi were also included, Velyati and Larijani again took the lead, she noted."