Fri May 5, 2017 10:23AM
Iranian presidential candidates attend a live debate on state TV in Tehran on April 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Iranian presidential candidates attend a live debate on state TV in Tehran on April 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The six candidates contesting Iran’s presidential elections are to join their second live debate on state television ahead the May 19 race.

The session is to start at 16:30 local time (12:00 GMT) on Friday. It is to address “political-cultural” affairs.

The debate will gather incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, member of Iran’s Expediency Council Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in the northeastern city of Mashhad and former vice president Mostafa Hashemi-Taba.

The previous debate, which took place last week, revolved around social issues.

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In the latest campaign speeches on Thursday, Hashemi-Taba attended a televised program, saying he hoped the debates would “take a reformative form and feature mutual brain-picking.”

If the debates are to feature criticism of a given candidate, he said, they should also have him praised for his achievements.

Similarly addressing the issue of the debate, Tehran’s interim Friday Prayers leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that the programs helped significantly reduce spending by the candidates on their campaign activities.

He, however, said the first debate had featured some instances of “behavioral anomalies,” adding, “The candidates have to display morality through their attitude as their behavior on this level will evolve into a model.”

Hashemi-Taba continued by naming the “preservation of Iran as well as the reformation of the agriculture” as his topmost priority, saying he would seek to address the travails of the underprivileged.

During a Thursday event, Raeisi also addressed the medical community supporting him in Tehran.

He laid emphasis on the need to enact reforms within the system of providing medical assistance throughout the country, including by enhancing the electronic facilities in the service of the system.

He also said no one leveling criticism against the government should face reproach and said, “Criticism should be treated as an asset.”