Principlist candidates throw weight behind Jalili in Iran presidential runoff

The principlist candidates in the snap presidential polls in Iran, who gained notoriety for their deep chasms before the first round of elections on Friday, have now issued statements supporting Saeed Jalili, the “Revolution Front” candidate who came in second and found his way into a runoff to be held coming Friday.

Jalili, who earned over 9.47 million, or 38.61 percent, of the votes, has to face off with the sole reformist candidate Massoud Pezeshkian, who garnered over 10.41 million, or 42.45 percent, of the total 24.55 million votes.

The other principlist candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who was harshly vilified for not dropping out of the race in support of Jalili, issued a statement right after the interior ministry released the final results on Saturday, reading “Let’s all try to make Dr. Jalili the head of the next administration.”

Alireza Zakani, the other principlist candidate who withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday in favor of the Revolution Front, said all of his campaign headquarters will work for the victory of Jalili.

Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, who also gave up his candidacy in favor of a stronger right-wing front, asked the nation and the like-minded candidates to back Jalili.

The plea comes despite an argument by Hashemi in televised debates that Jalili cannot be considered the continuation of the path of the late President Ebrahim Raisi who died along with his companions in a tragic helicopter crash on May 19.

Pezeshkian, however, who has an unprecedented backing of reformist and moderate giants, including former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hassan Rouhani, as well as former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, has previously announced his main challenge is not any of the presidential candidates, but the disillusioned people who have turned their backs on ballot boxes because of mainly the harsh economic conditions.

The official figures have put the turnout of eligible voters in the first round at 40 percent.

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