Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Iran to hold presidential polls next May - Mostafa Moein Liberal Hope

Iran to hold presidential polls next May: "Iran to hold presidential polls next May

TEHRAN (dpa) - Iran is to hold presidential elections on May 13 next year, the Teheran press quoted the interior ministry as saying on Monday.
According to the constitution, the reformist President Mohammad Khatami cannot run for a third term.

Analysts say the vote is crucial for the embattled reformist movement which wants to continue the liberalisation course started when Khatami came to power in 1997.

But conservatives rule the judiciary and senate-like Guardian Council, and have a majority in parliament following the disqualification of reformist candidates by the clergy in the last elections.

Although none of the potential candidates have yet declared their intention to run for president, the local press has been speculating over possible nominees.

The most prominent is former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, 70, a moderate conservative who held the post from 1989 to 1997.

Another hopeful is Hassan Rowhani, 63, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and currently chief negotiator in the nuclear dispute with the European Union.

The reformists are pinning their hopes on Mostafa Moein, a former higher education minister who resigned after police suppressed student unrest last year."

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