Presidential candidates hold first live debate

April 29, 2017 - 10:51

TEHRAN – The first debate among the six candidates of the May 19 presidential election was held on Friday afternoon.

The six candidates are Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, Es’haq Jahangiri, Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.

There will be three live televised debates in total.

Friday’s debate focused on social issues while the next two will revolve around economic and political matters, Press TV reported.  

The candidates drew lots to determine their seating arrangement for the debate, not to leave any room for accusations of partiality.  The first candidate to answer the first question was Mirsalim. He said immigration inside the country should be curbed before it gives rise to social crises and added that 350,000 illegal wells have wasted the country’s water resources and intensified immigration to cities. The candidate said social facilities must be distributed evenly in cities and villages. He added that suitable housing must be provided in small towns and villages to prevent immigration.

Raeisi was next up on the podium. He said joblessness and shutdown of production units are major problems facing the country’s economy. He added that the next administration must make plans to narrow social gaps in a bid to promote justice.

Hashemi-Taba was the third candidate who took to the podium. He said bank loans and mass construction would be good ways to tackle the housing problem, adding that job creation would help resolve the issue.

Rouhani was the next hopeful taking to the podium to respond to a debate question about his plans to encourage the youth marriage. He said unemployment was the main hurdle to youth marriage and added that boosting “hope” and avoiding “unnecessary limitations” in the society are key to solve problems. He said hope for future has increased in the Iranian society and employment rate has improved. Hope for future and employment are the best ways to promote youth marriage in the country, Rouhani added.

Jahangiri was the fifth presidential candidate to use his four-minute time to outline his plans on reducing bureaucracy in executive bodies. He said the current administration has managed to change the security-based approach to social issues and added that most of the Iranian people are not satisfied with municipalities and banks. The current first vice president said the establishment of an e-government was the major step to reduce bureaucracy.

Jahangiri said forceful measures would fail to solve social problems and added that he took part in the presidential election as a representative of the reformist camp. The current first vice president emphasized that the current administration has managed to increase petrochemical production by nine million tons.

Qalibaf was the last hopeful taking to the podium to answer a question about his plans to tackle the environmental challenges if elected president. He said the dust storm problem is currently plaguing 20 Iranian provinces and added that inappropriate measures taken inside the country has led to the crisis.

Qalibaf defended the performance of Tehran Municipality in the environment-protection sector, saying it has used garbage to generate power and produce compost. The mayor of Tehran added that over 20,000 hectares have been planted with trees around the capital.


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