By Kamila Aliyeva
Registration of candidates for the presidential elections in Iran began on April 11 at the headquarters of the Interior Ministry, IRNA reported.
The registration process began at the country’s Election Office, which is located within the Interior Ministry’s premises in Tehran, and will last for the next five days.
The election is scheduled for May 19.
The candidates are expected to be political and religious personages, who fulfill the fourfold criteria of being of Iranian origin, being a national of the Islamic Republic, being prudent and capable of taking on leadership duties, and being religious and believing in the Islamic Republic’s principles and its official religion.
All hopefuls will be vetted by the Guardian Council, a body that oversees elections and legislation, from April 16 to April 20.
The body may extend the vetting period for five days, April 21-25, looking into candidates’ grievances.
On April 26-27, the Interior Ministry will formally announce a final shortlist of candidates approved by the Guardian Council.
On April 28, candidates start campaigning until 24 hours before May 19, the voting date for the 12th presidential and 5th city and council elections.
The two main rivals in the race are widely expected to be the incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani, and Ebrahim Raeesi, the chief custodian of Astan Quds Razavi.
President Rouhani has not officially announced his will to run for a second term. But, he is widely expected to do so, and the reformist camp in Iran has already picked him as its chosen candidate.
He remains popular for stabilizing the economy and ending sanctions through a nuclear deal with world powers. After lifting the sanctions, Rouhani visited a number of European states and made deals that worth billions of dollars. European companies started looking for investment opportunities in the growing Iranian market.
Raeesi, who is a close ally of the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would rely on his past record in high government posts and his managerial skills to win votes. A large number of conservatives are expected to fully support the candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi.