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Registration of presidential applicants commences in Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An Iranian man (R) registers at the Ministry of Interior during the first day of registration for Iran's upcoming presidential election, to be held on June 14, in Tehran, Iran, on May 7, 2013. (EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh)

An Iranian man (R) registers at the Ministry of Interior during the first day of registration for Iran’s upcoming presidential election, to be held on June 14, in Tehran, Iran, on May 7, 2013. (EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The registration of candidates for the Iranian presidency started at the Iranian Interior Ministry yesterday. The registration process will run for 5 days, until May 12. According to Article 115 of the Iranian constitution, any male applicant who meets a set list of criteria can apply to be a candidate.

Those criteria state that candidates must be Iranian citizens of Iranian origin, as well as being a well-known political figure. They are required to have managerial and prudential expertise, as well as being known for their trustworthiness, piety and loyalty to the foundations and constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. All candidates must also be followers of Twelver Shi’a Islam (Asna Ashari).

On May 5, the Mehr news agency announced that a new—but unconfirmed—requirement was mentioned by the speaker of the Guardian Council: requiring applicants to provide executive manifestos. This extra requirement does not have any legal basis, but can give the Guardian Council a new avenue for deselecting applicants on the ground that their credentials do not meet the legal requirement.

Soulat Mortazavi, the deputy interior minister in charge of administrative operation in conducting the election, announced on Tuesday that his staff can register up to 50 applicants per day, as reported by Fars news agency. The law for applicants is general: the Interior Ministry cannot prevent individuals from coming to submit their application, he added. However, Mortazavi advised individuals who are not truly eligible to not submit applications for candidacy.

Applicants can submit their application form to the Interior Ministry either in person or through an attorney. On May 13, the Interior Ministry will forward the documents supplied by all registered applicants to the Guardian Council for vetting.

Under the constitution, the council has the prerogative to determine who meets the above-mentioned criteria and is thus eligible to run for office. This vetting process takes up to 5 days—meaning it will end on May 17. Rejected applicants will then have 5 days to submit an appeal, along with extra evidence, to the Guardian Council.

The final list of vetted candidates will be announced by the Guardian Council on May 22. Candidates can officially commence their election campaigns on May 24, and the campaign will continue until 24 hours before the elections on June 14.

If none of the presidential candidates receive an absolute majority in the election, a second round of voting will be held within one week. That ballot would be a face-off between the two most popular candidates.

On the campaign trail, all candidates will be given equal airtime to broadcast their TV and radio ads. There will also be one-on-one presidential debates.