Al-Monitor | Rohollah Faghihi: Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf withdrew from the presidential race May 15, leaving the conservative camp with two candidates in competition against incumbent moderate Hassan Rouhani.
Ghalibaf, who had registered to run for the third time, announced that he is withdrawing in favor of conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi.
Ghalibaf reached this decision following a meeting with Raisi on May 15. However, some prominent conservatives, including former chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, were opposed to such a move, opining that this withdrawal will not wholly turn out in favor of the conservative camp.
According to Gholam Hossein Karbaschi, a leading Reformist politician, Ghalibaf faced a steep decline in polls across Iran following the third and final presidential debate on May 12, when Rouhani threatened to reveal wrongdoings “in 2005,” without specifying what exactly he was referring to, in the face of Ghalibaf’s continued attacks. The Tehran mayor first ran for the presidency in 2005.
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