Tehran mayor:

Unwilling to run for presidency

News ID: 3945645 -
TEHRAN, Apr. 05 (MNA) – Tehran's mayor has said in a statement he is unwilling and unplanned to run for presidency in the upcoming May 19 elections.

Mr. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf however said that all should contribute to efforts to change the current cabinet, implying that he would not have problems with any Principlist candidate who defeats President Rouhani, who will run for a second term. "I will help with the election process so that a candidate is elected who would save the economy and bring some organization to critical conditions the country is in; I would cast no doubt to the view that the current shamble is the direct consequence of the current administration and it should be replaced by an efficient and working government," he added.

"It is a crucial necessity for people to review their choice in the upcoming elections in May 19; this would only be possible through election of a candidate who is qualified enough and is popular enough with the nation; today, society desperately needs unity, what I believe is beyond mere partisan solidarity," continued the statement. "The calls for convergence of the Revolutionary forces are fortunately on the air and I cherish efforts by the Principlists in their good offices, but I would not be a candidate for presidency," said the mayor in his statement.

Ghalibaf was a major candidate in speculations as to the major figures in Principlist camp who would also easily win the consensus of the majority in the camp; now with Ghalibaf no longer an option, Principlists would focus on less known figures; the number of candidates in the media for the camp is by no means few; however, it is evident that the camp should trim down the list to a rational number of 4 or 5 in order to avoid confusion and divide within the greater front of the political right. To make the situation still complex further, the newly made Popular Front of Islamic Revolutionary Forces also seeks to bring some form of convergence to the Principlist camp. The core of the Popular Front is members of former governments and individuals who served once in the ranks and files of the Establishment. Its objective would be to produce a candidate in Rouhani's caliber who at the same time would save the public's vote as well.

Notable among the candidates is Mr. Ebrahim Raeisi, who had been the subject of invitations to participate in election; Mr. Raeisi served as deputy-head of the Judiciary for 10 years; in previous positon, he was head of Special Clerical Court since 2012 before his appointment to the custodianship of the Astan Quds by the Leader.

Less probable figures are Mostafa Mirsalim, major candidate by Islamic Coalition Party, a party close to central right; former nuclear negotiator and an Imam Sadiq University graduate Mr. Saeid Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei, former IRGC general and current Expediency Council secretary, and Hamid Baghaei (whose qualifications the Guardian Council would reject based on his conviction), a close associate of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, plus other minor figures as Ezatollah Zarghami, former head of the IRIB and former parliamentarian Mehrdad Bazrpash, which would line up against Reformist-Moderates, which is highly likely that they will send only President Hassan Rouhani to the battleground in May 19.

SH/3945350

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