The registration of presidential candidates for the June election in Iran began today, Tuesday May 7, and will continue until Saturday. Interior Minister Mostafa Najjar announced that the Guardian Council will decide on the eligibility of candidates during five days of deliberation that begin on May 12.
For the first time, the presidential election will take place at the same time as municipal elections.
In a departure from previous elections, the Ministry of the Interior will run the elections process under the supervision of a newly formed Executive Election Committee. The committee consists of a member of Parliament (who will not cast a vote), the Prosecutor General, the Minister of Intelligence and seven "religious, political, cultural and social figures representative of public confidence."
The establishment of the committee was highly criticized by the administration but was approved by the legislature.
The last presidential election led to widespread protests with allegations of vote fraud and a crackdown on peaceful protests, which led to scores of deaths and the arrest of thousands of Iranians.
The end result was a sidelining of reformists, as many of their leaders are currently in prison, and the two reformist candidates who challenged the election result, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, are currently under house arrest.
The reformists have not yet agreed on a candidate to represent them in the election. Meanwhile, many conservative figures have said that top reformists such as former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani will not be found eligible.
The conservatives have not yet managed to present a single candidate, but instead several candidates are registering from that camp.
Ahmadinejad supporters have established their own camp, and many have suggested that Esfandiar Rahim Mashai will be their candidate. Analysts are doubtful that Mashai would get approval from the Guardian Council.
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