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Qalibaf Expected to Withdraw in Favor of Raeisi
National

Qalibaf Expected to Withdraw in Favor of Raeisi

Head of the popular campaign office of principlist presidential candidate Ebrahim Raeisi predicts Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, another principlist contender for the May 19 poll, would eventually step aside in favor of Raeisi. Ali Keyhanian made the statement in a talk with IRNA on Monday, noting that the two candidates are in the same political grouping and the withdrawal is necessary to avoid a split in the votes of principlist electorate. Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, and Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza [PBUH], are leading challengers to incumbent Hassan Rouhani’s reelection bid. Both hopefuls are affiliated with the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a principlist body formed last December to prevent a repeat of their bitter experience of the 2013 race, when Rouhani won the race in the first round by a wafer-thin margin, helped by a divided field of five conservative candidates. PFIRF has announced that the candidates have pledged to abide by its electoral strategy and the group will decide about its final contender after the last televised debate scheduled for May 12. However, it’s not clear how Keyhanian has come to the conclusion that Qalibaf should withdraw in favor of Raeisi before the last debate and the public survey are held.

 

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