Will Rouhani lose elections?

The rating of the conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi exceeded the rating of the current president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, supported by the reformers, the Fars agency reports with reference to the survey results.

According to the survey, more than 71% of voters intend to vote. Of these, 47.9% are going to support Raisi and 44.8% - Rouhani. The pre-election balance of forces was dramatically changed by the fact that yesterday, another conservative candidate, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, withdrew his candidacy, backing Raisi. This led to a noticeable decrease in the percentage of undecided voters - from 17 to 8%, TASS reported.

The first vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri, can follow Ghalibaf's example. It is not excluded that he will refuse to continue the struggle in favor of Rouhani. However, Fars believes that it would raise the rating of the president running for the second term by only 2%.

The presidential elections in Iran will be held on May 19. If no candidate passes the threshold of 50%, a second round is held with the two highest-vote candidates. 

The senior research fellow of the Department of Near and Middle East at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lana Ravandi-Fadai, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that these results indicate rather the distribution between the reformist and conservative sentiments among the respondents. "Rouhani is gaining 45% without taking Jahangiri's supporters into account, who probably will step out of the election to give all his votes to Rouhani." Raisi, according to various sources, has 21%-27%, probably Fars added the votes for Ghalibaf, who withdrew candidacy in favor of Raisi. But some of Galibaf's votes will go to Rouhani', as moderate conservatives will vote for him," she explained.

"Traditionally, a president always runs for the second election in Iran, exception for Abolhassan Banisadr, but nobody was put under such pressure before, as Rouhani," Lana Ravandi-Fadai drew attention.

The expert expects that if Jahangiri quits in favor of Rouhani, the elections will be held in one round and President Hassan Rouhani will win. "The fact is that Raisi is not a very well-known person in Iran, so I think that Rouhani will win," she said.

The ratio between supporters of conservatives and supporters of reformers in the Iranian society is approximately equal. "At the same time, we must take into account that there are reformers dissatisfied with Rouhani's presidency. And also there are conservatives who support Rouhani," the senior research fellow of the Department of Near and Middle East at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

It is extremely important in this situation that Ebrahim Raisi is de facto the successor of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the supreme leader of Iran. "Raisi is already being considered as the main candidate. Therefore, I think that there is an active promotion of Ebrahim Raisi so that the people will learn about him as a person who can become a rahbar," Lana Ravandi-Fadai concluded.

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