Iran's presidential vote set for May

Iran's interior ministry has fixed 13 May as the date for the next presidential election, an official spokesman said.

    Khatami is close to the end of his second and final term

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

    Iran's current president, Muhammad 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 from standing.

    Conservative versus reformer

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

    Rafsanjani is openly considering
    running for the presidency again

    On the conservative side, potential candidates include former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, now an adviser to supreme leader Ayat Allah 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. He currently heads Iran's top political arbitration body, the Expediency Council.

    SOURCE: AFP


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