In the wake of the Interior Ministry’s announcement on Tuesday that the Guardian Council had formally approved eight of the 686 Presidential hopefuls who registered as potential candidates in the June 14 election, the question still remains: which candidate will the Supreme Leader ultimately back?
The eight men approved are Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili; former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei; centrist Hassan Rouhani; Supreme Leader advisor Ali Akbar Velayati; MP Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel; Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf; a token reformist, Mohammad-Reza Aref; and the lesser-known Mohammad Ghazi, a Minister of Oil in the late 1980s.
The list of approved candidates —unsurprisingly — includes all three of the 2+1 Coalition (Velayati, Haddad-Adel and Qalibaf), who were originally tasked in December with finding a consensus candidate behind whom the principlists and conservatives could unite.
The committee has said that it would wait until the Guardian Council released its list of approved candidates before deciding on which of three would ultimately run. However, with Jalili emerging in the past week as a front-runner, the question now is whether the Coalition — and the Supreme Leader — decide to back him as the consensus candidate, or whether they will choose Qalibaf, who has said he has said he does not wish to stand down.
Presidential Election Watch: Jalili Edition
Jalili Tweets Internet Campaign HQ
Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili has tweeted a photograph of his “internet campaign headquarters”.
Jalili — or his campaign team — has emerged as the leading user of social media among the candidates, though it is not clear — especially with reports that the internet is at best extremely slow across Iran today — what the impact of his campaign is domestically.
Presidential Election Watch: Mashaei Edition
Ahmadinejad’s right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, criticized as an “injustice” Tuesday his disqualification by the Guardian Council, and said the Supreme Leader would fix the situation.
He added: “Enshallah, this problem will be solved this way.”
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