2021-June-23 22:52
2021-June-9  22:49

Presidential Candidates Heat Up Campaigning Through Raising Plans

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s presidential hopefuls have been busy in the past few days with presenting their plans to resolve the current problems in the country and improve people’s livelihood, exciting more voters to come to the polling stations on June 18.

Two weeks before the presidential election in Iran, the country’s election commission has called for a mass voter turnout. The commission’s Spokesman, Esmayeel Moussavi, said over 59mln people are eligible to vote in the June 18 election.

He said there will be more than 72,000 polling stations across the country up by more than 10,000 compared to the previous elections in order to alleviate concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Mousavi also emphasized that all candidates are required to comply with the health regulations in their electoral campaigns, warning that any violation of the protocols will be met with punitive measures.

The candidates approved for running for the top executive post have been talking about their plans in the past few days to resolve the country’s problems.

The first candidate, Ebrahim Rayeesi is running for president on a platform of tackling economic problems such as poverty, unemployment and inflation. In a campaign rally on Monday, he once again reiterated his promise to put an end to corruption.

“In the past two years, as the head of Iran’s Judiciary, I have seen many court cases that show people’s concern about corruption and discrimination. My administration will have no redline in fighting corruption. The root cause of injustices in the executive branch of the government must be dried up. The banking, tax, import and export systems must be reformed. And if the government’s monitoring of goods, currency and communications increases, we will not see a corruption case in the country every single day. God willing, with your help, we will resolve the problems. I think it is quite possible to change the current situation,” he said.

Another presidential candidate is Mohsen Rezayee. He says his potential administration will be one of action and breakthrough.

Rezayee says the governance system in the Iranian economy needs to change. In his latest interview he has outlined his plan to boost domestic production.

“We will improve the conditions necessary for businesses. This means that we will lower the business costs. For example, sometimes when a producer wants to take out a loan, they have to wait for 6 months. This results in an increase in expenses for that business. But my administration will increase profitability in the production sector by decreasing such business costs. We will also levy taxes on non-productive sectors and cut taxes on production sector. We will also use technologies like fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrencies,” Rezayee said.

The next candidate is Alireza Zakani who says that different sectors in the country have the capacity to create millions of jobs for the people.

The Principlist lawmaker says his administration can create over 2mln jobs in the next two years.

“I believe Iran has many capacities. So if we manage to activate these capacities, we will even be in need of labor forces from abroad. We can make 1.5mln jobs in the first 6 months and then 1.5mln jobs the next year and then 2mln jobs the year afterward. We now have 2.5mln people awaiting for employment. In addition to that, there are 3.5mln seasonal and constructional workers and female household heads. Hopefully, with the help of God, these problems will not exist in the future,” he said.

Iranian presidential candidate, Saeed Jalili, says he has plans to bring inflation in Iran under control. The former top nuclear negotiator also says he has plans to bring economic benefits to low income families. The 55-year-old candidate pledged an elaborate hopeful plan for everyone in the country if elected as president.

“Regarding inflation, I have to say that the whole production cycle, I mean from production to consumption, has to be under the supervision of the government and people can play a leading role here. If this production cycle is designed through using smart technologies and electronic government, many of our economic problems will be resolved. We have 3 major plans to get the lower deciles of the society out of the current economic crisis. We have also a comprehensive healthcare plan for all the Iranian citizens in a way that people can make the most of their healthcare benefits with the least difficulty,” he said.

Mohsen Mehr Alizadeh says he believes in a socio-economic approach as a remedy to Iran’s ailing economy. He says his government will be able to provide much needed services to the people of the country if elected president.

The 64-year-old candidate says if economic policies are pursued in a way that should be, Iran can compete with the world’s economic powers.

“Scandinavian countries came up with the idea that social market economy in the 1930s, the socio-economic approach, calls for the eradication of special economic rents and privileges for certain people; it also provides free and fair healthcare services, pensions, entertainment for all ages and all sorts of services for the people of a country. We have all sorts of potentialities to become an economic power like some countries in Europe. That includes young people, good education, decent facilities, natural resources, interaction with the world and so on and so forth,” he said.

Another candidate, Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi has spoken of his economic agenda, offering his views on how to deal with unemployment and organize the country’s taxation, health and insurance systems.

He said his administration, if he is elected, would be based on transparency, and that each sector needs a comprehensive, smart electronic data system so it can better distribute the subsidies among those in need.

“We need an organization that would ensure a smart collection of taxes and a smart distribution of subsides,” said Qazizadeh Hashemi, adding that to achieve that objective, he has designed a “comprehensive taxation, health and support system.”

He pledged to halve the unemployment rate, from 12 to 6 percent, by creating four million new jobs.

“We need to base economic development on creative industries, start-ups, and science-based economy,” he said.

Speaking on the first presidential debate, Qazizadeh Hashemi called inflation “the mother of all scourges” in Iran.

“Inflation is a perpetual tax that goes from the barefoot to the government and the affluent class. That has been going on for 60 years,” he said.

Meantime, Abdolnasser Hemmati, 64, heading the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) until recently, distanced himself from President Hassan Rouhani and rejected the notion that he was the president’s representative in the election.

Hemmati also said his main aim was to bring about change in economic governance. “We had politicians run the economy for years, let’s have politics be defined by economics for once.” He said time was short and “we have to start economic reforms sooner. I will publish my plans in that regard”.

The Iranian interior ministry on May 25 declared the names of 7 hopefuls qualified by Iran’s vetting body, the Guardian Council, to run in the presidential race.

The 7 approved candidates include Iran’s Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi, Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezayee, Iranian reformist politician and former Governor of Isfahan Province Mohsen Mehr Alizadeh, former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Saeed Jalili, Iranian Member of the Parliament Alireza Zakani, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati and Parliament’s Vice-Speaker Seyed Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi.

The disapproved candidates had the opportunity to protest at their disqualfication vote and the qualified candidates can start their campaign as of May 25 until 24 hours before elections.

Several candidates, including former Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan and former Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, dropped out of the race in Rayeesi’s favor before the Guardian Council declared its decision on their qualification.

Rayeesi is known to be the favorite pick in this election after he gathered fame in systematic aide to the poor when he headed the Shiite Islam's 8th Imam, Hazrat Ali Ibn-e Moussa's endowment Institution, and then in fighting corruption during his present career as the Judiciary Chief. He was facing mounting calls by his supporters and associated political figures to join the 2021 presidential race, with a top body of Principlists now backing him as their top choice but he has declared himself as an independent candidate.

He served as attorney general from 2014 to 2016, and was deputy Judiciary chief from 2004 to 2014. He was also prosecutor and deputy prosecutor of Tehran in the 1980s and 90s.

Rayeesi became a household name in Iran in 2017 when he ran as a Principlist candidate in the presidential election. He lost the vote to Rouhani.

As the Judiciary chief, Rayeesi has launched a widespread anti-corruption campaign. He drew up laws to protect women against domestic violence.

The Constitutional Council — also known as the Guardian Council — is a body of Islamic and legal jurists that acts in many ways as a Supreme Court.

Half of the body’s 12 members are legal jurists. They are nominated by the head of the Iranian Parliament and put to the vote of the Parliament, while the rest are specialists in Islamic law, and are appointed by the country’s highest-ranking authority, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Membership in the Council is for phased six-year terms, which means half the membership changes every three years at random.

The Council affirms or rejects any interpretation of the law made in bills passed by parliament. The members sitting on the Council vet the compatibility of the legislation with the Constitution and its Islamic basis.

Any legislation rejected by the Council will be passed back to the Parliament, which will have to rewrite the proposed bill if it wants it to proceed with it. Disagreements between the two bodies are referred to the Expediency Council for a final decision.

Another one of the Council’s tasks is to supervise elections. All candidates standing for election and those for the Assembly of Experts — another supreme body — must secure the Constitutional Council’s approval before they can join the race.

Iran will simultaneously hold the 13th presidential election and the 6th City and Village Councils Elections on June 18.

The election in which voters will pick a president for a four-year term will be held as the country is still grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As stipulated in the Constitution, the President is elected for a four-year term by direct vote, and is allowed only two successive terms, although he can run for a third nonconsecutive term.

To run for president, a candidate must satisfy six key qualifications outlined in the Constitution, namely being an Iranian national and of Iranian origin, having “administrative capacity and resourcefulness” besides a good past record and the qualities of trustworthiness and piety. The President must also have a firm belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Islam, the official religion of the country.

Hopefuls need the approval of the Constitutional Council — a panel of six theologians and six legal experts — for running in presidential elections.

Presidents are elected with a majority of the vote. If no candidate manages to secure the threshold in the first round, a run-off is held between the two candidates that have received the most votes in the first round.

Under Article 113 of the Iranian Constitution, the President acts as the country’s chief executive and is responsible for implementing the law of the land “except in matters directly concerned with the office of the Leadership.”

Within the limits of his powers and duties, the President is responsible before “the people, the Leader, and the Islamic Consultative Assembly,” as the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) is formally called.

The President appoints ministers, subject to the approval of the Parliament.

The chief executive has the authority to sign agreements with other governments as well as those pertaining to international organizations, after securing parliamentary approval.

Ambassadors to other countries are also appointed upon the recommendation of the Foreign Minister and approval of the President, who also receives the credentials presented by the ambassadors of foreign countries.

The President is tasked with administering national planning, the budget, and state employment affairs.

In addition, he heads the Supreme National Security Council, which protects and supports national interests, the Islamic Revolution, and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Meanwhile, the President serves as the chairman of Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, a body set up after the 1979 Revolution to ensure the country’s education and culture remain Islamic and will not be influenced by other cultures and ideologies.