No Need for Any Principlist Contender to Pull Out

No Need for Any Principlist Contender to Pull OutNo Need for Any Principlist Contender to Pull Out

A principlist politician said none of the three principlist hopefuls running for president should stand aside to shore up support for others, as he believes the six-man vote scheduled for Friday will most likely head for a second round.

"With a two-round vote on the horizon, not only Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Ebrahim Raeisi ought to remain in the race, but Mostafa Mirsalim should also stay," Mohsen Kouhkan also told ICANA on Sunday.

Raeisi is a longtime judge who is currently the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH); Qalibaf is the former police chief and incumbent Tehran mayor and Mirsalim formerly served as culture minister. Mirsalim and two pro-government candidates, Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri and former industries minister, Mostafa Hashemitaba, are relatively low profile hopefuls.

But Raeisi and Qalibaf are leading challengers to the reelection bid of incumbent Hassan Rouhani who is favored to win the presidential marathon.

Kouhkan said current opinion polls indicate none of the hopefuls in the race is likely to garner an absolute majority of votes, but the principlist camp would do well to keep as many contenders in the race to minimize the chances of an unexpected win by Rouhani in the first round.

"It also helps boost voter turnout, which the Leader of Islamic Revolution has repeatedly called for," he said. Under the two-round voting system, a candidate must earn more than 50% of the votes to win in the first round. If not, the two candidates with the highest votes move on to a runoff.

Raeisi and Qalibaf are affiliated with the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a principlist body formed last December to plan a unified electoral strategy.

PFIRF has announced that either Raeisi or Qalibaf may stand aside in favor of the other on the election eve, unless it believes that it would be a two-round election.

Both candidates have campaigned on a platform of boosting job creation and cash subsidy payments for the needy, faulting Rouhani's administration for failing to promote the economy during his four years in office.

The campaign season started on April 21 and will last until 24 hours before the May 19 presidential election.

The hopefuls held their last televised debate last Friday, the most heated of the three that frequently saw Rouhani and Qalibaf trading barbs.


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