Iran Presidential Candidates Appear in Live Showdown

Iran Presidential Candidates Appear in Live Showdown

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Six candidates racing for the Iranian presidency took part in the first round of nationally televised debates on Friday evening that saw moments of serious debates between Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri.

Allotted equal minutes of speaking time each, the six candidates explicated their plans during the debate for dealing with the country’s major social problems after taking the office.

The candidates have been singled out by the Guardian Council from among more than 1,600 applicants seeking presidency.

Three of the candidates categorized as “reformists” include President Hassan Rouhani, First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, and Mostafa Hashemitaba.

The other three, known for belonging to the “principlist” political faction, include Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, the chief custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim.

During the Friday debate, each of the candidates was asked a question about major social problems, including emigration to cities and the suburban communities, social justice and uneven distribution of wealth, housing problems, obstacles to marriage, bureaucratic problems and the ways to boost efficiency of the executive organizations, and the approaches to dealing with the environmental issues.

Every candidate had four minutes to outline his plans on tackling the social problems, while the other five men had two minutes each to comment on the presentation.

The debate raged occasionally in direct talks between Mr. Qalibaf and Mr. Jahangiri, the critic and the proponent of President Rouhani’s administration.

Overall, each of the candidates have been allocated over 1,100 minutes to talk about their campaign pledges in various radio and television programs aired by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

The presidential election will be held on May 19.

During the previous polls in June 2013, Rouhani garnered 50.7 percent of a total of over 36 million votes.

The number of eligible voters in the upcoming election is estimated to be around 1.5 million higher than the 50.5 million in the previous round.


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