The first six qualified candidates based on a press release of Iran’s Interior Ministry included Ebrahim Raeisi, Custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashad; First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri; former minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mostafa Aqa Mirsalim; former Minister of Physical Education Mostafa Hashemi Taba, President Hassan Rouhani and Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
However, Qalibaf, a conservative candidate, officially announced his withdrawal from the presidential race on Wednesday in a letter to the Interior Ministry saying he quitted the elections in favor of Raeisi. He asked his supporters to vote for the 56-year-old principlist candidate.
Another candidate, Jahangiri, announced a few days ago in a statement that he quitted the presidential race and would support Rouhani on May 19 elections. He also asked his supporters to vote for Rouhani.
A third candidate, Hashemi Taba, said in a statement that he would vote for Rouhani on May 19 but he has not announced his withdrawal officially to the Interior Ministry yet.
The Elections Headquarters announced that according to elections law any candidate wishing to quit presidential campaign should deliver his resignation in writing to the election headquarters and supervisory board.
The following is a brief summary of the four remaining candidates' backgrounds:
** Hassan Rouhani, (born in 1948), the incumbent Iranian president, is a member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, which appoints the country’s leader. The former posts he used to fill include membership of Majlis (Iranian Parliament) and presidency of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
**Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, (born in 1947), is currently the head of the Islamic Coalition Party’s Central Council. He is a conservative politician and engineer who served as the country’s minister of culture and Islamic Guidance from 1994-1997. From 1981 to 1989, he served as the advisor to then president Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
**Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, (born in 1947), was a vice president under former president the late Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Hashemi Taba also served as former minister of industries, and the former head of the Sports Organization.
**Ebrahim Raeisi, (born in 1960), is currently the custodian of Razavi Holy Shrines, an organization charged with affairs of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) the eighth Imam of Shiite Muslims in the city of Mashad. Raeisi has already served as the head of supervisory council at Radio and Television (Seda-Sima); Country’s prosecutor general, general prosecutor for clerics, member of association of combatant clerics in Tehran and presiding member of assembly of experts.
The qualified candidates started their election campaigns from April 21 in form of holding three rounds of televised group debates and single addresses to their supporters in different meetings both in the capital Tehran and other cities. The presidential campaign would stop 24 hours before the elections (Thursday morning, May 18).
The Election Headquarters announced that domestic media are not allowed to release any report in favor or against any of the presidential candidates as of Thursday morning.
Nearly 56.5 million Iranians are eligible to vote, from whom, according to a survey carried out by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on May 7-8, some 66.7 percent will participate in the election.
Voters should be at least 18 years old on the day of the elections, i.e. people born before May 19, 1999 can vote in the elections.
The 12th presidential elections will also be held in 130 foreign countries.
Reporter’s code: 50101