Iran: Situation before the elections

There's less than a week left until the presidential elections in Iran, scheduled for May 19. Right now there are six candidates: current president Hassan Rouhani, former Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, former Minister of Culture Mostafa Mir-Salim and former Minister of Industry Mostafa Hashemitaba.

Vladimir Sazhin, senior researcher at the Center of Middle East Studies of the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, belives that Iran's policy has a very strong influence on the situation in the region and that the result of elections is extremely important. "Out of 1500 candidates only six were approved by the Supervisory Board. Only three of them represent moderately liberal forces: current president Hassan Ruhani, his first deputy Eshaq Jahangiri and Mostafa Hashemitaba. Conservative forces are represented by the opposition to President Ruhani: Ebrahim Raisi, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Mostafa Mir-Salim. Experts believe that Rouhani and his two opponents - Raisi and Ghalibaf, will be the most popular candidates. Latest data from sociological survey shows that this is close to the truth. 41.6% of respondents said they will vote for Rouhani. Raisi received 26.7%, while Ghalibaf - 24.6%. The remaining three candidates received from 3.2 to 1.2%. Raisi, who previously was in the third place, is now second, ahead of Ghalibaf. Together Raisi and Ghalibaf have 51.3% of votes, which is more than Rouhani has," Sazhin said.

He believes that in this situation, second round of the elections is quite possible. "If this happens, then it will be difficult for Rouhani, because his opponents will do everything to turn people against him." Vladimir Sazhin noted that traditionally, almost all Iranian presidents ruled for two terms. "I was in Tehran in April, many people believe that, despite all the difficulties, current President Rouhani is going to win," he said.

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