A surprise development on the eve of Iranian presidential elections. Mohammad-Baghar Ghalibaf, Tehran's conservative mayor, has dropped out oas a candidate for the upcoming may 19th polls.
The mayor's withdrawal allows hardliners to coalesce around a rival powerful conservative in the fight against the reformist-backed incumbent, Hassan Rouhani.Justifying his decision to pull out, Ghalibaf called on his supporters to back Ebrahim Raisi, a shi'ite cleric who studied under supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Qalibaf's decision brings the number of candidates competing in friday's election to five. Though more may drop out in the coming days to solidify support for other candidates.The current President Rouhani is supported by reformists and is expected to win the presidential election on May 19th. Which will shape the country's economic and domestic policy for years to come.