Several Iranian presidential candidates object to debate format

The eight Iranian presidential candidates during their first live televised debate on Friday, May 31, 2013

A number of Iranian presidential candidates have objected to the format of their first live televised debate.

In the debate aired live on Iran’s state TV on Friday, the eight candidates spoke about their economic plans ahead of the upcoming presidential poll. They offered their solutions to the country’s economic problems and answered questions on major economic issues.

In the first part of the debate, candidates would appear at a podium, on an order defined by lot, to address a random question in a timeframe of three minutes. When the candidate at the podium would finish his three-minute speech, the other seven candidates would have 90 seconds to comment on the explanations offered by the candidate at the lectern. The candidate in question would then have two minutes to address the pieces of criticism raised by the seated seven candidates.

In another part of the program, the candidates would get questions to which they had to respond in a few words. Separately, they were shown images with economic themes and were asked to speak about their interpretations of the images.

Criticizing the format of the debate, reformist candidate Mohammad Reza Aref said the debate looked more like a university admission test. Independent candidate Mohsen Rezaei also objected, saying that it was not a dynamic presidential debate that would have the candidates engage directly with one another.

Another reformist candidate Hassan Rohani said the debate was not one expected by the viewers.

Principlist candidate Saeed Jalili also criticized the format of the debate after the program.

The organizers say it is not possible to arrange one-on-one debates for the candidates due to the limited time ahead of the June 14 election and the number of the candidates.

The eight candidates are scheduled to explain their cultural and political plans during two more televised debates next Wednesday and Friday.

By Press TV


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