In wake of Rouhani’s win, conservative rivals vow to remain on scene

Al-Monitor | Arash Karami: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who promised more interaction with the world and more social freedoms, won re-election May 19 with 57% of the vote. His conservative rival, Ebrahim Raisi, who received approximately 16 million votes to Rouhani’s 23 million, conceded defeat but vowed to remain a loyal opposition, as did large swaths of conservative media in the country.

In a statement shortly after the election, Raisi, who heads Iran’s largest religious endowment and ran a populist campaign, did not congratulate the president on his election victory. Instead, Raisi listed the achievements of his own campaign, in particular raising the issues of poverty and corruption, two areas he vowed to continue to fight for. The statement also complained of election violations that he said would pursue.

In a warning to Rouhani, Raisi added that the 16 million who voted for change “cannot be ignored in the country’s political arena nor decision-making.” But Raisi did wish the administration and the president success in “addressing the economic concerns of the people.”

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