Presidential candidates Ebrahim Raisi and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf are focusing on Rouhani’s weak point: the economy (Al-Monitor). Tehran Mayor Ghalibaf promised to create five million new jobs, increase incomes by 2.5 times, and pay 2.5 million rials ($77) a month to unemployed Iranians. Raisi alluded to solving the unemployment crisis and creating 1.5 million jobs every year. In addition, he said he would triple the 455,000 rials ($14) monthly cash subsidy payments.
Rouhani kicked off his campaign by saying, “In the coming election, the issue is not all about electing a person for the presidency; the issue is that of whether we want to continue down the path of freedom of speech or not.” He added, “In the coming election, the main issue is whether we want to begin confrontation with the world and bring back the ominous shadow of war to the country or whether we want to continue engaging in honorable interaction with the world.”
Iran will air live presidential debates, after all (AFP). The first debate will be held on Friday, April 28 at 1130 GMT.
Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi is increasingly leaning on officials from former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency (Al-Monitor). Thus far, Raisi has picked Ali Nikzad as chief of staff. Nikzad was Ahmadinejad’s minister of transportation and housing, minister of housing and urban development, and acting minister of information and communications technology. Raisi is also surrounding himself with Ahmadinejad-era officials, including former hardliner nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Is Raisi really a threat to Rouhani? (Al-Monitor) The incumbent president’s political experience remains the biggest thorn in the side of his conservative opponents.
According to IranPoll, 62 percent of Iranians have a favorable opinion of Rouhani and 67 percent favor Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Al-Monitor). When it comes to Ebrahim Raisi, 46 percent of Iranians have no opinion of him, while 32 percent have a favorable opinion.
Does the supreme leader really have a preferred candidate? (Al-Monitor)
An IRGC commander publicly criticized Rouhani’s refusal to block Telegram call service before election (CHRI). According to General Hassan Nejat, the president reportedly said, “Why are you opposed to any kind of technology imported from the West? Telegram is a symbol of technology and modernism. We should import it to our country.”
This app lets Iranians swipe past political propaganda (IranWire).
The U.S. is nearly silent on Iran’s presidential election as policy toughens (VOA).
Presidential election breakdown:
April 28: First presidential debate
Now–May 17: Campaigning
May 19: Election
May 26: Second round of election if no candidate secures a majority