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EghtesadOnline: Six hopefuls cleared to run for president by the election watchdog Guardians Council started on Friday their campaigns for the May 19 vote.

The list shaping the field of candidates was released on Thursday night by the Interior Ministry, the election organizer, after the council completed the screening of over 1,600 presidential candidates.

The hopefuls have seven days more than expected to canvass for votes, as according to a previous schedule, the list was to be released on April 26 or 27 and the campaigning period was to start on April 28.  

Their campaigns must end until 24 hours before the election, Financial Tribune reported.

Included in the list is incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, 69, whose reelection bid has won the unanimous support of reformists and who is widely seen as the contender with the highest chances of victory.   

There are also Ebrahim Raeisi, 57, a former prosecutor general, and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, 56, the former police chief and incumbent Tehran mayor.

The two, both supported by the principlist Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, are expected to be leading challengers to Rouhani.

Others who made the cut are Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, a 60-year-old former lawmaker and industries minister, Mostafa Hashemitaba, a 71-year-old former head of Physical Education Organization, and 70-year-old Mostafa Mirsalim, a former culture and Islamic guidance minister.

The former two-time president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his deputy Hamid Baqaei were among the high-profile aspirants disqualified.

If no candidate garners more than 50% of the votes, a runoff will be held on May 26 between the two top vote-getters.

Hassan Rouhani Iran presidential election Iran Guardians council Iran presidential candidates