Sunday, March 13, 2005

Reformists proposed 5-member group to select a single presidential candidate

Description of Selected News: "New developments in presidential race

TEHRAN (MNA) -- Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the pragmatic cleric who currently heads the Expediency Council, on Sunday gave the clearest indication yet that he intends to attempt a comeback as president in June's election.

"As we are getting closer to the election, I feel my responsibility is getting heavier and I cannot stand aside," Rafsanjani told a gathering of managing directors and chief editors from the national press.

"If I determine that the management of the country rests on me alone, do not doubt that I will execute my national and Islamic duty," he was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.

"But currently I have not reached this point," he added, saying he would only stay out of the race if a popular and competent candidate emerged.

Meanwhile, conservative MP Ahmad Blukian told reporters on Sunday that the Coordination Council for the Islamic Revolution Forces Committee will announce on Tuesday that it has selected former IRIB director Ali Larijani as its candidate. -----Alami announces presidential candidacy

Reformist MP Akbar Alami announced his candidacy for the presidential election on Sunday.

“I will participate seriously in the presidential race,” he told reporters.

A’lami said Rafsanjani will be his main competitor in the election. He added that Rafsanjani candidacy has become obsolete and other people should be given the opportunity to take on managerial posts. ---- SP proposes five-member group to select single reformist candidate

The Solidarity Party (SP) has proposed establishing a five-member group to select a single presidential candidate for the reformist front, the party’s deputy chairman, Mohammad-Reza Khabbaz, said on Sunday.

The proposed group will include President Mohammad Khatami, former prime minister Mir-Hossein Musavi, the secretary of the Assembly of Researchers and Teachers of the Qom Seminary, Ayatollah Hossein Musavi Tabrizi, and two leading members of the Assembly of Combatant Clerics (ACC), Musavi Khuiniha and Mohammad Musavi Bojnurdi, Khabbaz told the Mehr News Agency.

The reformists will agree on a single candidate after the Iranian New Year holidays which begin on March 21, but even if they fail to reach a complete consensus, there is no need to worry since the more candidates participate in the election, the more people will turn out to vote, he said. ---Karrubi holds stronger foothold than Moin: analyst

Political analyst Amir Mohebian commented on Sunday that among reformist candidates, former Majlis speaker and current ACC secretary general Mahdi Karrubi holds a stronger foothold than former science minister Mostafa Moin.

Mohebian, a presidential candidate himself, noted that in the conservative camp former Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) network director Ali Larijani and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati have been the most popular in opinion polls. --- EC secretary ready to compete

Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei said on Sunday that he is ready to compete in the presidential race. In an interview with MNA on the sidelines of the electoral conference entitled “The Coalition of the Children of Zagros”, Rezaei said, “I don’t believe the president or the government serve as preparatory forces but have abundant authoritative power that ought to be utilized.” In response to a question on the possible candidacy of Rafsanjani, the conservative candidate noted, “My political, economic, and cultural plans are totally different than those of Rafsanjani, and his decision whether or not to run in the election does not have the least effect on my candidacy.” --- Presidential candidate vows sovereignty, employment, and peace

Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh said on Sunday that he would establish a government based on sovereignty, employment, and peace if elected president.

The people, and particularly the youth, should benefit from social and economic security, the director of the Physical Education Organization told the MNA.

Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony in honor of medal-winning athletes held in Central Province, Mehralizadeh said that the future government should strive to win the confidence of the youth.

He added that opinion polls have revealed that 50 percent of the people will vote in the election and expressed hope that the potential turnout would increase as election day approaches. ---Rafsanjani, reformists’ main option

Hadi Mirzaei, a member of the central council of the Students Islamic Assembly of Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, said on Sunday that Rafsanjani is the reformists’ main and final option as their candidate in the presidential race.

Rafsanjani is not a conservative figure, to the contrary, his participation in the election will deliver the greatest blow to the conservative camp, Mirzaei told MNA. ---EC chairman in search of candidate with popular support

Aydin Saeedi, the deputy chairman of the Servants of Construction Party branch in Mashhad, cited Rafsanjani’s search for a candidate with popular support as the reason for his delay in announcing his candidacy.

“Rafsanjani does not intend to further complicate the electoral process but wants to see a new generation of managers participate in the political scene,” Saeedi said. ---Reformist, conservative extremists have no plans to resolve people’s problems

Democratic Party secretary general Mostafa Kavakebian said on Sunday that the extremists of both the reformist and conservative camps have no specific plans for resolving the people’s problems.

Kavakebian noted that Iran is facing some fundamental economic problems, and added that the next government should strive to resolve these shortcomings."