Iran Elections: Conservative Candidate and Tehran Mayor Ghalibaf Withdraws from Race

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

A reformist candidate has dropped out of Iran's presidential election to back President Hassan Rouhani in a widely expected move that will strengthen the incumbent's campaign against a hard-liner. The run-up to Iran's race is now between two conservative candidates, Ebrahim Raisi and Mostafa Mirsalim, in addition to two moderates: Rouhani and Mostafa Hashemitaba.

This week, pro-Raisi users launched a campaign titled "End of the week, Rouhani is gone", posting memes showing the Iranian president ready to leave with a packed bag and suitcase and videos of voters chanting the slogans at pro-Raisi rallies.

Seeking a second term, pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, 68, remains the narrow favourite, but hardline rivals have hammered him over his failure to boost an economy weakened by decades of sanctions.

Jahanigir is part of the president's inner circle and was universally regarded as a "support" candidate for Rouhani.

On Monday, Tehran's hardline mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf withdrew his candidacy and urged his supporters to back conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi.

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Rouhani and Jahangiri have claimed if the hardliners return to power the country will revert to suffocating security atmosphere.

Under Iran's system, the powers of the elected president are circumscribed by those of the conservative supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been in power since 1989. Some Iranian politicians believe that presidency is only the first step for Mr. Raisi, who is considered by many conservatives to be the right person to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader.

Polls taken by International Perspectives for Public Opinion on May 10 show Rouhani still leads with about 55 percent of the votes, although such surveys do not have an established record of predicting election outcomes in Iran.

"Vote for Rouhani because he is the man for hard situations", he added.

Raisi and Ghalibaf have criticized Rouhani for not delivering on the promises he made when his administration signed the nuclear deal with the United States and other major powers.

Other reports by BadHub

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