World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran’s Elections Headquarters says the final list of candidates for the 11th presidential election of the Islamic Republic will be announced on May 22, Press TV reported.
Secretary of Iran’s Elections Headquarters and Deputy Interior Minister Seyyed Solat Mortazavi said that the Interior Ministry would announce the names of the candidates on Wednesday, May 22.
The Guardian Council, a 12-member body, is tasked with vetting hopefuls for candidacy and confirming the election results.
A total of 686 hopefuls registered from May 7 to 11 for the presidential election.
Several of the hopefuls have dropped their bid for presidency over the past days, report says. Iran’s former health minister Kamran Baqeri Lankarani, lawmaker Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, former Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast and Davoud Ahmadinejad, the older brother of Iran’s incumbent president, are among those hopefuls.
According to the report, the formal election campaign would begin at 8:00 a.m. local time (0330 GMT) on May 24 and would continue for 20 days.
Mehr News reported that The Guardian Council has qualified 8 candidates for presidential elections, Mashaei and Hashemi disqualified.
Meanwhile, Iranians are struggling with slower Internet speeds and limited access ahead of an unpredictable presidential election.
Experts and web users say they believe the Internet obstacles are related to the June 14 presidential vote, the first since 2009 polls in which accusations of fraud - denied by the government - kindled months of protests organised in part via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Iranian officials denied any connection between the Internet disruptions and the upcoming vote. But, after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad four years ago, they are wary of the possibility of further unrest this time around.
The opposition website Kaleme reported on Monday that security had been heightened in Tehran, apparently to counter any protests should the candidacies of Rafsanjani or Mashaie be rejected by the council.
Iranian web users, who number some 45 million according to official figures, have grappled with increased obstacles to using the Internet since the 2009 election.
Kaleme said on Monday Internet speeds had dropped in much of Tehran and that in some parts of the capital, accessing the Web had become impossible - which would prevent dissidents from mustering protests online as they did after the 2009 vote.
Many Iranians used Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to bypass the government's extensive web filter. But the government blocked access to most VPNs, which make computers look as if they are located in another country, in March.
A similar Internet blockade was put in place in February 2012, ahead of parliamentary elections.
Several Iranian Web users said they have had trouble accessing their Gmail accounts in the last three weeks. Elham, an Internet user from the northeastern city of Mashhad, told Reuters that since late April, any VPN she tries to use only works for about two minutes before she is disconnected.Last Mod: 21 Mayıs 2013, 16:25