Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has endorsed presumptive Principlist candidate Hamid Baqaei, who served as his vice president, for the next month’s presidential election. “I do not plan to run for president. I support Hamid Baqaei as the most qualified candidate,” Ahmadinejad said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Baqaei was the chief of staff and vice president for executive affairs during Ahmadinejad’s second term in office. He was also vice president and head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization when Ahmadinejad was in office during his first term.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has advised Ahmadinejad, who was Iran’s president from 2005 to 2013, not to run for president in the May election, saying the prospect of his candidacy could create polar divisions in the country.
Under Iran’s Constitution, presidents are allowed two consecutive four-year terms. Iranians will go to the polls on May 19 to take part in the country’s 12th presidential election. Two major political camps are at the heart of Iran’s politics; Reformists and Principlists and anyone not in these two camps is considered an independent.
Meanwhile, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said on Wednesday that he had no plan to run in the next presidential election. “As I mentioned in a letter, I have had and will have no plan to become a [presidential] candidate, but I will do my utmost to help the victory of the desired candidate in the presidential election,” Qalibaf said. Qalibaf was a candidate in both the 2005 and 2013 presidential elections.