Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered as a presidential candidate for the country’s election scheduled for May 19, local media reported Wednesday.
According to the INSA new agency, Ahmadinejad made the decision despite the recommendation against doing so by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In September 2016, media reported that Khamenei had advised the ex-president, who had a strong anti-Western stance, to stay out of the race during a meeting together. Ahmadinejad, in turn, sent a letter to Khamenei after the meeting saying that he did not plan to run for the presidency, according to the reports.
The relationship between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei had been tense in the final years of Ahmadinejad’s presidency due to his failed attempt to challenge the clerical establishment in the country. Ahmadinejad took extraordinary measures to confront Khamenei, including threatening to resign.
The registration of presidential candidates started in Iran on Tuesday and is expected to last for five days. According to the agency, 126 people filed for candidacy during the first day of the registration. After the end of the registration , the candidates will participate in televised debates until the pre-election silence on May 18. The candidate who gains the support of more than 50 percent of voters will become the country’s president. If no candidate reaches this threshold, the run-off will be carried out between the two presidential hopefuls receiving the highest number of votes.
Ahmadinejad was succeeded by current President Hassan Rouhani in 2013 after serving two four-year terms.