Iranians will go to the polls on May 19 to take part in the country’s 12th presidential election and also to elect members of local city and village councils for the fifth time.
The following is a timeline of the milestones in the forthcoming elections:
- April 11-15: registration of candidates for the elections
During this period, presidential hopefuls are expected to register for taking part in the forthcoming presidential race. Right now, there are over 220 political parties and factions recognized by the Iranian Interior Ministry, but only 10 percent of them are actively recruiting members and weighing on domestic policies. Two major political camps are at the heart of Iran’s politics; Reformists and Principlists and anyone not in these two camps is considered an independent.
- April 16-20: vetting of candidates by the Guardian Council
Presidential elections are monitored by the Guardian Council and the elections of city and village councils are observed by the Parliament. All candidates should be finally vetted by the Guardian Council.
- April 21-25: possible extension of vetting process
During this period, the Guardian Council can decide whether to extend the time considered for the vetting of election candidates. This usually happens when vetting all candidates is not possible during the set time frame or new evidence on the qualifications of candidates emerges, which calls for more work by the Guardian Council.
- April 25-27: announcement of approved candidates
In this period, the Guardian Council will release the final list of candidates it has approved to run for the election. Following the announcement, the candidates will be given a set time to launch their election campaigns during which they will explain their future plans to people who are to vote for them.
- April 28-May 17: presidential election campaign
Election campaigns for those running for president will officially kick off on April 28. Two major political parties in Iran are Principlists and Reformsits; however, a new political group named Moderates has made its way into political arena after the 2013 presidential elections. Islamic Coalition Party has officially announced that it will nominate Mostafa Mirsalim, a former minister of culture and Islamic guidance, for the election. Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, a member of the Parliament, announced his nomination as well. Hamid Baqaei, an Iranian politician and senior adviser to former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has also announced his candidacy as an ‘independent’ candidate.
- May 18: pre-election campaign silence
On May 18, all presidential candidates will officially wrap up their campaigns as they are legally required to stop all activities aimed at their election as of this day, which precedes the election day.
- May 19: Election day
On this day, Iranians will go to the polls to cast their votes for their next president. Principlists and Reformists are archrivals in the elections. Before President Hassan Rouhani, Ahmadinejad served as Iran's president for two terms for eight years, but he has decided not to join the race this time around.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has urged Iranian people to show enthusiastic presence in the forthcoming elections, saying that elections is one of two pillars of religious democracy, which make the Iranian nation feel honored before the world.