Iranian President Mohammed Khatami will register for the June 8 presidential elections on Saturday, reported the Tehran Times on Thursday.
Khatami has still not said whether he intends to run for a second four-year term, the maximum permitted by the constitution.
The registration started on Wednesday and candidates have five days to throw their hats in the ring.
Khatami's supporters have pressed him to participate in the elections to push ahead with his ideals of establishing the rule of law and a civic society. However, he has kept the nation on tenterhooks over his decision
His opponents are charging that the pro-reform camp has kept Iranians in suspense in order to gain more votes, and that Khatami will announce his candidacy at the last minute.
According to the paper, a 67 presidential hopefuls on Wednesday filed their papers at the interior ministry.
The registration process started at 8:30 a.m. (0400 GMT).
After registration, the election watchdog, the Guardian Council, will screen the candidates to approve or disqualify them.
The council is supposed to announce the results of its vetting procedure in 10 days.
Under the Presidential Elections Law in Iran, each candidate must be "a political or religious figure, of Iranian origin, of the official state religion (Islam), faithful to the cause of the Islamic Republic."
Some 42 million Iranians are eligible to vote, out of a population of 62 million, the paper said.
Major figures to take part in the elections will be former information minister Ali Fallahian, the economic expert Ahmad Tavakoli, student leader Ebrahim Asgharzadeh and former MP Hassan Ghafouri-Fard, said the Tehran Times.
Meanwhile, the ministry announced that the oldest person to register for the polling was 80, while the youngest was 30.
TWO WOMEN REGISTER FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
Two Iranian women were among the 67 candidates who registered to run for president, said reports.
AFP said that Farah Khosravi, who is said to be close to Iran's conservative camp, and an unknown political figure, Touran Jamali, were the female candidates.
Khosravi accused Khatami of disappointing his female and youth supporters, reported AFP.
"Mohammad Khatami has not kept his promises. He has failed to keep his promises to the people, to the young and to women," Khosravi, 47, was quoted as saying by the agency.
The president is not "capable of lowering inflation, or checking unemployment," she added.
"If he runs, he will not get even eight million votes," in contrast with the 20 million votes he received in 1997, she predicted – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )