More than 150 candidates began registering for the May 19 presidential election (Reuters). The candidates will be vetted by the Guardian Council and then the final list of candidates will be announced by the Interior Minister between April 26 and 27. Those registered includes 13 women, several Arab-Iranians, a 12-year-old boy, and twin brothers in their late twenties. Despite having zero chance of getting on the ballot, some Iranians insist on trying anyways (RFERL).
The main contenders thus far are incumbent pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, hardliner cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who has close ties to the supreme leader, and Hamid Baghaei, a hardliner and former vice president of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Oddly enough, former hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also filed to run for president (The Guardian). This came as a surprise to many given that last September, Khamenei advised Ahmadinejad not to run for “his own” and the “country’s good” since he’s a polarizing figure. Ahmadinejad is expected to be disqualified by the Guardian Council as former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was during the 2013 election. Analysts say Ahmadinejad registered as a candidate only so the Council could disqualify him and allow Baghaei to remain in the race. Conservative candidates show no indication of being ready to withdraw in support of the leading contender of their camp (Al-Monitor).
Why Iran’s upcoming presidential election is hard to predict (Atlantic Council).
Iran’s judiciary chief warned that a repeat of the 2009 post-election protests would not be tolerated (CHRI). Sadegh Larijani said, “This time, the judiciary, the police and security forces, the authorities, and, most important of all, the people themselves will not allow the 2009 sedition to take shape again. You can be certain that we will not show tolerance and patience for 10 months like we did that year.”
Also, Israel’s defense minister would “not be surprised” if Rouhani is assassinated next month (Newsweek).
Presidential election breakdown:
April 11–15: Candidates register at Interior Ministry
April 16–20: Guardian Council screens candidates
April 26–27: Interior Ministry announces approved candidates
April 28–May 17: Campaigning
May 19: Election
May 26: Second round of election if no candidate secures a majority
Here are the eight political factions that stand out this election (IranWire).