‘Principlist candidates may not quit in favor of Raeisi’

June 1, 2021 - 22:10

TEHRAN – The spokesman for the Combatant Cleric Society says principlist presidential candidates may not withdraw candidacy in favor of the candidate backed by the Unity Council of the Principlists, saying it is dependent on the “personal views” of other principlist candidates to stay or leave the race.

The Unity Council of Principlist backs Ebrahim Raeisi, the Judiciary chief, as favored presidential candidate.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam said the Combatant Cleric Society started its activities for the presidential elections about 10 months ago and it formed the Unity Council of Principlists with involvement of representatives from political parties, the youth, women, university students, teachers and other social classes.

The purpose of the clerical society was to agree on a single candidate in the presidential elections and it backs Raeisi and it obeys the collective decisions of the Unity Council. 

He said the Unity Council only introduces Raeisi to the electorate but the people have the right to vote for any candidate they wish.

“Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi is the exclusive candidate of the Unity Council of Principlists and whether other principlist candidates will withdraw candidacy in favor of Raeisi or stay in the race until the election day is dependent on the personal views of them, and it is possible that they would not withdraw,” Mesbahi Moqaddam told IRNA in an interview published on Tuesday.

On a refusal by the Guardian Council to confirm certain candidates to run for president and the airing of certain doubts about the performance of the council in social media, he said the Leader of the Islamic Revolution answered these doubts and what the Leader says is the “firm stance” of the Islamic Republic system and all those who consider themselves the followers of the late Imam Khomeini and the Leader.

Mesbahi Moqaddam also said those who claim the people’s vote is not important are seeking low voter turnout.

To prove that such claims are worthless, he said the experiences of the past elections show that predictions contrasted with what the ballot boxes revealed. For example, he said, in the 1997 elections the majority were saying that Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri would become president but the president of the reformist government won 20 million votes.

The spokesman of the Combatant Cleric Society said, “This issue is a proof of the sincerity of the Interior Ministry and the Guardian Council and Supreme Council for Overseeing Elections.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said a priority of the clerical society is high voter turnout.

The former lawmaker also said the Islamic Republic has made good achievements over the past four decades and now the country has a high status in the region and it is hoped to achieve a similar place in the world through active involvement of the people, especially the youth.

He said nothing can replace the role of people in backing the Islamic Republic system and people themselves decide about their destiny through ballot boxes.

The cleric spokesman also urged the candidates to praise the good actions of previous governments.

It is not ethical that the presidential candidates undermine the previous governments in order to “build a bridge for themselves,” Mesbahi Moqaddam suggested.

Every president has done some services but has had some weaknesses or made some mistakes and these weak points can be uttered by observing Islamic ethics in order to avoid such mistakes in the future.

The current member of the Expediency Council also warned certain candidates who promise increase in cash subsidies, saying such steps does not fall entirely within the authority of president.

For example, he said, increasing cash subsidy should be proposed to the parliament and after an approval by the parliament it should be confirmed by the Guardian Council. At the same time, he added, the Supreme Monitoring Board of the Expediency Council should make sure that it would not run contrary to the declared policies by the Leader of the Revolution.

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