EghtesadOnline: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Thursday said high voter turnout in the 2021 presidential poll depends on the candidates’ clear understanding of everyday economic problems faced by the public and their ability to offer viable solutions.
“It’s important that the candidates persuade the public they know the society’s problems, and that they are prudent and resourceful and can manage the country,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “In that case, people will go to the polls in high numbers.”
In a virtual meeting with members of parliament, the Leader pointed out that the election will leave its mark on Iranian’s lives and the country for years to come and said, “We’re hopeful that the June 18 election, in contrast with enemy wishes, brings about dignity, honor and eminence for Iran.”
Last week, the Guardian Council, the country’s top vetting body, approved the qualifications of seven out of 590 applicants who had filed applications. Five of the candidates are conservatives, one is a reformist and one has joined the race as an independent.
Defending Vetting Body
Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the criticism against the Guardian Council’s decision to disqualify a host of moderate and reformist candidates, “The motivation behind these protests vary.”
The Leader noted that the critics’ concerns for low turnout or the disqualification of a favorite candidate is understandable, “But some are against the Guardian Council itself and try to get revenge using this opportunity… God will not forgive them.”
Presidential hopefuls found qualified by the Guardian Council are: Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi, secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, lawmaker Alireza Zakani, the parliament’s first deputy speaker Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi, governor of Iran’s central bank Abdolnasser Hemmati, and Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the former vice president and head of the National Sports Organization of Iran.
Among the senior politicians barred from running for presidency are Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani, former parliament speaker and adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei.
The Leader denied any links between candidates’ political parties and voter participation, stressing that the act of voting itself transcends partisan affiliations.
Ayatollah Khamenei said, “People’s participation doesn’t depend on names, and the public are seeking someone who can govern the country with a strength of will to solve the country’s problems.”
“People don’t care about a candidate’s title or party, maybe this matters to political camps, but not to the general public,” he added.
President Hassan Rouhani wrote a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei to try and overturn the Guardian Council’s decision to disqualify many prominent moderate and reformist figures from the election.
The Leader used his authority over the council once to add two reformist candidates to the 2005 presidential race.
He advised the candidates to discuss problems faced by the public, unemployment, livelihood of the underprivileged and the ‘mafia’ controlling imports in the country.
“These are what destroy production, disillusion innovative young people and make hard-working farmers desperate,” the Leader concluded.
Iran is set to hold three presidential debates over the next 20 days.