Iran Election Hopefuls Quit in Boost to Leading Candidates
(Bloomberg) -- Three of the seven candidates in Iran’s presidential election dropped out days before the June 18 vote, leaving just one pro-reform contender and helping hardline frontrunner Ebrahim Raisi consolidate his support.
Reformist and former vice president Mohsen Mehralizadeh’s withdrawal leaves independent Abdolnaser Hemmati, who stepped aside from his job as governor of the Central Bank of Iran to run, as the only candidate likely to draw backing from moderate and reformist voters.
Parliamentary research center chairman Alireza Zakani said he was leaving the race in order to endorse Raisi, state-run IRIB reported. Saeed Jalili, another conservative and former head of Iran’s nuclear program, also pulled out and endorsed Raisi, according to a statement published by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
On Monday a poll by the Iranian Students’ Polling Agency found just 42% of roughly 5,000 respondents definitely planning to vote, with 60% backing ultra conservative cleric Raisi.
President Hassan Rouhani, a more moderate cleric whose leadership was plunged into crisis after then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal, is due to step down in August after two consecutive terms in office.
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