Tight race in Iran’s presidential election

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Tight race in Iran's presidential election Supporters of the Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi hold his poster as they wave their country’s flags in a campaign rally for the May 19 election at Imam Khomeini grand mosque in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranians will soon head to the polls to vote for the next president. On the last day of campaigning, candidates were out trying to rally support. There are five candidates in the running, but only two are seen as viable contenders. One of them is the current President Hassan Rouhani.

CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports from Tehran.

Tight race in Iran's presidential election

Tight race in Iran's presidential election

Iranians will soon head to the polls to vote for the next president. On the last day of campaigning, candidates were out trying to rally support. There are five candidates in the running, but only two are seen as viable contenders. One of them is the current President Hassan Rouhani. CGTN's Tony Cheng reports from Tehran.
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It’s last-minute campaigning for Iran’s Presidential election. And the result is far from assured. Although the incumbent has never lost a re-election campaign in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani is facing a stiff challenge.

His principle opponent is a conservative cleric who’s held some of the top jobs in Iran’s judicial system. Ebrahim Raisi has promised an Iran that will be self-sufficient and improve upon what he and his supporters claim is a failure to bring economic change.

“The main rival of (Rouhani’s) government is its four years of poor performance,” said conservative presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi at a rally.

That might be a little unfair to his opponent, who has successfully reduced inflation while stimulating growth. However, unemployment remains high, and many feel he is not a strong President. But President Rouhani is banking on the appeal of continuity and stability.

“We must think about people’s progress and hope of Iran and not to deceive the Iranian people,” said President Rouhani.

While neither candidate is as charismatic as those of the past, the choice facing voters may decide whether Iran continues to open up, or retreats into its shell.

The nuclear deal brokered with the U.S. and EU has been called into question by the Trump administration, and the lifting of sanctions has not created economic opportunities many had hoped for. But some feel engagement may still be the more fruitful path.

“If Rouhani wins he is going to be interested in improving political relations,” says Foad Izadi, professor at the University of Tehran. “Raisi is also interested in that, but I think Rouhani is going to be more willing to give concessions to achieve that.”

Polls open at 10 in the morning, local time Friday.


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