Raisi is principlists’ favorite presidential candidate, unity council spokesman says 

April 6, 2021 - 12:9

TEHRAN – Manouchehr Mottaki, the spokesman for the unity council of principlists, declared talks with potential presidential candidates on Monday.

However, Mottaki said, Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi is the council’s “first priority”.

So far, Raisi, the Judiciary chief, has not announced whether he will run for the post of president or not.

Mottaki, a former foreign minister, and parliamentarian said the unity council has started talks with potential candidates to get familiar with their plans and their cabinet makeup.

Raisi ran against President Rouhani in the 2017 elections. 

The presidential elections in Iran will be held on June 18.

Almost all analysts and even ordinary citizens predict that the main competition in the June elections will be between rival principlist candidates. 

So far, potential principlist candidates are Raisi; Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf; former Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili; Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezaei; former parliament speaker Ali Larijani; and Rostam Qassemi and Mohammad Saeed, both chiefs of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, the construction body of the IRGC.   

So far, former defense minister Hossein Dehqan who currently acts as military advisor to the Leader, and former diplomat Ramin Mehmanparast have openly announced their presidential candidacy.

Dehqan, who was minister in President Hassan Rouhani’s first administration, has said he will be contesting the elections independently and said has no affiliation to any political faction.

Mehmanparast has also said a presidential candidate should have cohesive plans for running the country.
Atrianfar, a key member of the pro-reform Construction Party, has announced they may back a Larijani candidacy if their favored candidates are not endorsed by the oversight Guardian Council.

However, Mohammad Javad Haqshenas, a member of the National Confidence Party, has said the reformist faction won’t back Larijani in he runs for the presidential post.

Haqshenas also said the political climate in the country in the current year is different from 2013 in which reformists backed moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani.

“The political climate of the country in 1400 (the current Iranian year) is different from (13)92 and the choice between bad and worse will no longer produce results,” he told the Mehr news agency in an interview published on Saturday.

He said even if the leader of reformists back a particular candidate, the reformist groups will not back that candidate.

Former president Mohammad Khatami is considered the leader of the reformist faction. In the two previous presidential elections, he backed Rouhani.
Haqshenas, who is currently a member of the Tehran City Council, also defended elections based on party lines, saying, “If a candidate from a party comes to (election) scene and is elected, naturally his party will be held responsible for the performance of president.”
The member of the central council of the National Confidence Party said in 2013 “we were caught in a situation in which we had no alternative other than supporting Hassan Rouhani because reformists were still being haunted by results of the 2005 presidential election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the votes.

In that atmosphere in which reformists wanted to protect their status in the elections they preferred to announce tendency toward a candidate who was closer to “reform thinking” and thereby an “unwritten coalition” was formed between reformists, moderates, and moderate principlists and these three factions backed Rouhani and they won the elections, Haqshenas stated.

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