2017 presidential race timeline: Countdown to the vote 

April 2, 2017

TEHRAN - Iran's election headquarters announced that registration for presidential candidates will open on April 11, a little more than one month before the May 19 election. 

“Registration will open on April 11 and run for five days,” Ali Asghar Ahmadi, head of the election body, was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Immediately upon the closing of registration, the 12-member Guardian Council, a body that oversees elections and legislation, will vet candidates from April 16 to April 20. 

The body may extend the vetting period for five days, April 21-25, looking into candidates’ grievances. 

On April 26-27, the Interior Ministry, which is charged with all executive affairs related to elections, will formally announce a final shortlist of presidential hopefuls approved by the Guardian Council. 

On April 28, candidates start campaigning until 24 hours before May 19, the voting date for the 12th presidential and 5th city and council elections. 

Who will head into the Sa’ad Abad Palace has already been a matter of some uncertainty among Iranian political circles. 

Traditionally, ballot boxes in the Middle East powerhouse have been a battleground for principlists and reformists to pit against each other. 

In the 2013 elections, pragmatist incumbent Hassan Rouhani, endorsed by the moderate and reformist blocs, secured a landslide victory in a field of six candidates, three of whom backed unswervingly by principlist groups. 

While people familiar with the issue cast doubts on if Rouhani can win voters’ confidence as high as he won in 2013, there seems to be no major challenger. 

While Rouhani championed an international nuclear deal with world powers which partially ended economic sanctions against the country, opponents criticize the administration for a sluggish rebound in growth. 

AK/PA 

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