Aref says lines up reformists behind Rouhani in upcoming election

October 8, 2016

TEHRAN – Key reformist lawmaker Mohammad Reza Aref pledged on Saturday his support and other reformists’ to President Rouhani in the next year’s presidential election, slated for May 19, 2017.

Aref presides over Reformist Policy Making Council and earned a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in February, wining the highest votes in Tehran.

“The (reformist council) has so far backed the Rouhani administration, and God willing, will definitely support the government in the future, as well,” the Stanford-educated figure said.

Rouhani, who championed the nuclear deal with West, will surely run for president, seeking a second term.

In 2103 elections, he enjoyed the backing of both reformists and veteran politician and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, beating rivals, including Mohammad Qalibaf and Saeed Jalili, both backed by principlists.

“Definitely, we will have one candidate in the upcoming election and all will support him,” Aref added.

Aref’s strong endorsement for the moderate Rouhani comes days after Mohammad Reza Bahonar, a key principlist figure, ruled out any support for Rouhani, saying the principlists seek to agree on an independent candidate.

“As member of the principlist community, we have our own candidate. But our candidate will not be Rouhani for sure,” Bahonar had said.

AK/PA

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