Iran’s regime has signalled to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he will not be allowed to stand in the May 19 Presidential election.
Ahmadinejad surprised the country last week when he registered for the ballot. He was told by the Supreme Leader last summer not to run, and he had said that he accepted the decision.
The maneuver was accompanied by the registration of a controversial ally. Ahmadinejad’s former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, detained for seven months in 2015 on corruption allegations, filed his candidacy in an apparent attempt to get the Guardian Council to approve him as a “consolation” after any disqualification of Ahmadinejad.
On Sunday, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said lawsuits filed against Ahmadinejad and Baghaei are still open.
Mohseni Ejei did not comment directly on the candidacies of the two men, but he indicated that the claims of administrative violations are unlikely to be resolved soon, as a hearing has not been scheduled.
The court hearing over complaints against Ahmadinejad has been postponed on several occasions.
Ejei stopped short of issuing a definitive statement of disqualification, saying only “definite conviction in court” would mean a ban: “Many of the registered people have court cases, but it would not disqualify them on candidacy per se.”
The Guardian Council, which vets all candidates, is expected to ban all but a few of the 1,686 applicants.
The leading hopefuls at this point are the centrist President Hassan Rouhani and the principlist Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric who heads the influential religious organization Astan Quds Razavi. Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Ghalibaf filed just before Saturday’s deadline.
TOP PHOTO: Mahmoud Ahmadinjead (center) with Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai (left) and Hamid Baghaei after filing his candidacy for May’s President election