Reformist Ally Optimistic on Rouhani’s Reelection

Reformist Ally Optimistic on Rouhani’s Reelection

A senior reformist said he believes their candidate in the May 19 presidential polls will win the race in the first round. Speaking in an interview with ISNA on Friday, Mohammad Reza Aref, the head of Reformist Policymaking Council that has aligned with the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, also said the camp will field not more than one candidate in the elections.
"We will enter with one candidate and I predict the chance of this hopeful for success is strong and he will be elected in the first round," he said, after asked to comment on reformists' response if rival principlists support several hopefuls.
Principlist Mostafa Mirsalim, the first official presidential hopeful representing the Islamic Coalition Party whose candidacy was announced late December, told ISNA on Monday that the key to a principlist victory is taking the race to the second round.
"The more candidates out there, the more will be the voter turnout. Broader participation splits votes, which may lead to a runoff. If so, then it will be time for a principlist coalition," he said.
Aref said fielding several candidates would not be to principlists' benefit and will split the votes of their own supporters, not pro-reform voters.
"My advice for principlists is that they should reach consensus over one candidate, so we have a [stiff] competition between two prominent candidates [from the two major camps]," he said.
Senior reformists have frequently announced their support for Rouhani's reelection.
Rouhani won the 2013 presidential race after Aref, the then-reformist candidate, withdrew in his favor on the eve of the election. He has been quiet on his reelection plans, but a senior government official said last week that he has reached a decision to do so.
The leading candidate in the presidential race needs an overall majority of the ballots to avoid a runoff.  


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