Registration For Iran Election Kicks-Off With Candidates In Uniform And On Motorbike
Registration for Iran's Presidential election kicked off early morning on Tuesday with candidates in uniforms, candidates on motorbike and candidates in hijab registering to run in an election expected not to bring out a lot of voters and not change policies much.
"Tens of candidates, often with no political background, registered their candidacy at the Interior Ministry before mid-day," semi-official news agency ISNA reported. Some characters show up in every presidential election and register, knowing well that they will be rejected by the Guardian Council. In the meantime, they get some publicity and build a portfolio for any future need.
The first two candidates to register early morning were Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Nami who says he has studied “government management” in North Korea, and Brigadier General Saeed Mohammad the former chief of revolutionary guards’ construction and engineering headquarters Khatam ol-Anbia, who is promising to restrict Internet access similar to China.
A third brigadier general, Khamenei's military adviser Hossein Dehghan, registered his candidacy a few hours later.
The presence of several military candidates has raised the spectre of the Revolutionary Guards taking over the presidency, but the main candidate for hardliners seems to be the chief of the fearsome Judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, who has so far remained silent.
All the three brigadier generals registered their candidacy although according to election watchdog Guardian Council, the minimum requirement for military personnel running for President is the rank of major General.
There were a lot of confusion about the criteria for registration as the Iranian Constitution, the Parliament and the Guardian Council have their own rules about presidential candidate qualifications.
While the law requires candidates to be Muslim Iranians who believe in the Constitution and have minimal managerial background, the parliament and Guardian Council's criteria include age restrictions, academic qualifications, executive experience and several other characteristics.
An unknown man oddly wearing a tie came to register as a candidate. The regime regards ties as vestiges of decadence. He holds a poster saying "Politics is a field for social scientists".
In the latest development in this area, more than 220 members of Iran's parliament praised the Guardian Council for coming up with a new set of regulations that undermine the authority and jurisdiction of the parliament. However, President Hassan Rouhani on Monday ordered the Interior Ministry to register candidacies based on the existing constitutional requirements. Nonetheless, the Guardian Council insists that its regulations overrule previous legislations.
But today’s registration was handled by the interior ministry, which was ordered by rouhani to follow existing regulations.
Two women were also seen registering as presidential candidates. One of them arrived at the ministry on a motorbike. In a country where riding a bicycle for women is prohibited by fundamentalist clerics, a woman on a motorbike is certainly more than a surprise. Reporters at the Interior Ministry cheered her arrival. Another woman was clad in the traditional head to toe black covering, chador.
None of the candidates seemed to have a clear idea of where do they belong on the colorful but otherwise dull political spectrum. Nami said: "I come from the army. And I am an independent Principlist," Iranian officials' jargon for hardline conservatives. He added: My motto is" law and order in the shadow of ethics."
Saeed Mohammad said: "No political faction is supporting me, and I do not want to be supported by any one of them." And Dehghan said: "My administration will be the administration of powerful Iranian citizens," whatever that means.
The young woman on motorbike said: "I love my country and I am here to serve Iran." She was the candidate who received the biggest welcome by several dozens of Iranian reporters at the Interior Ministry. They usually rush to talk with candidates immediately after registration. Like previous years, some of the less-known candidates were in trouble responding to questions about which countries are Iran's neighbors or where are certain Iranian cities located on the map.
The registration will continue until Saturday May 15, from 8 o'clock in the morning to 6 pm. Within the next five days after that the Guardian Council vets the candidates and for another five days the council will attend to possible complaints by candidates until May 25.
The final candidates, usually between 4 to 6 individuals will then start official campaigning until a day before the June 28 election.