Iran opens registration for presidential race to replace late Raisi

Polls originally slated for 2025 were brought forward to June 28 following the president’s death in the May 19 air crash.

Iranian electoral officials
A final list of candidates will be announced on June 11 by the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of jurists whose members are either appointed or approved by the supreme leader [AFP]

Iran has begun the formal registration of presidential candidates ahead of a snap vote next month to replace the late Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash earlier this month.

The election was originally slated for 2025 but was brought forward to June 28 following Raisi’s death on May 19.

“Candidate registration for the 14th presidential elections began at 8am [04:30 GMT] … at the interior ministry,” the official IRNA news agency said.

Presidential hopefuls will have five days to register, IRNA added.

Raisi and seven members of his entourage, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, were killed when their aircraft came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northern Iran.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has since assigned Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, 68, as caretaker president in accordance with the constitution.

Thirty hopefuls

On Thursday, state media reported that “around 30 people” came forward to submit applications for candidacy, but “none of them met the basic conditions for qualification”.

The AFP news agency reported that former reformist lawmaker Mostafa Kavakebian and conservative parliamentarian Mohammadreza Sabaghian submitted their applications to the  Ministry of Interior.

Candidates must be between the ages of 40 and 75 and have at least a master’s degree, according to Iran’s electoral law.

As in previous election cycles, the main candidates representing Iran’s leading political camps are likely to submit their applications closer to the end of the registration process.

Possible candidates

Among those reported to be considering a run is Saeed Jalili, a conservative politician who once served as the chief nuclear negotiator under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, son of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a political ally of former President Hassan Rouhani, is also reportedly being asked to run.

Mokhber, the caretaker president, could also file his candidacy.

The final list of candidates will be announced on June 11 by the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of jurists whose members are either appointed or approved by the supreme leader.

The body disqualified multiple reformist figures ahead of the 2021 presidential election, which eventually helped the ultraconservative Raisi win.

The election saw a record-low turnout for a presidential poll at just 48.8 percent of all the registered voters.

The June vote will be held during a turbulent time, as the Gaza war rages between Iran’s arch foe Israel and Tehran-backed Palestinian group Hamas, and amid continued diplomatic tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies