By Mustafa Melih Ahishali
TEHRAN (AA) - Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been disqualified from running in the upcoming presidential election on May 19, according to state media.
According to an Interior Ministry statement announced on Iranian state TV on Thursday, a total of six candidates were approved by the Guardian Council, a cleric-dominated body that controls laws and candidates.
Ahmadinejad -- considered a conservative -- was barred by the Council while incumbent President Hassan Rouhani’s candidacy was approved, the statement said.
Frequently described as a moderate, Rouhani has served as president of the republic since winning 2013 polls.
Ibrahim Raeesi, a hardline cleric close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is another candidate joining Rouhani in the race, as well as Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Other presidential candidates are moderate Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri; former conservative Culture Minister Mostafa Mirsalim; and former pro-reform Vice-President Mostafa Hashemitaba.
According to Iran’s official electoral commission, more than 1,600 people applied for candidacy in the looming poll.
A first round of the elections is slated for May 19. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held between the top two candidates.
Iran’s 2017 presidential polls will coincide with municipal and local council elections, as well as partial elections for Iran’s Shura Council (parliament) in some cities.