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The New Arab

Special coverage: Iran election 2017

Iran elects: Voters have a choice between four candidates [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 May, 2017

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The race to the presidency is heating up in Iran, with hardliners squaring up to reformists in a showdown that could determine the future for the Middle East.
On 26 May, Iran will announce its new president. Before then, we'll be taking an in-depth look at how the Iranian electoral system works, as well as the candidates and their agendas.

Three hardline conservatives and three reformists were chosen by the country's all-powerful Guardian Council from a field of more than 1,600 candidates. After weeks of campaigning, and three televised debates, four candidates remain. Mohammad Ghalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, has pulled out in favour of Ebrahim Raisi, the leading conservative candidate. Eshaq Jahangiri has withdrawn, urging his followers to get behind incumbent President Rouhani.

Rouhani's reputation as an architect of the nuclear deal has not always found favour - he is seen by hardliners as having capitulated to the West, while promised economic benefits from the lifting of sanctions have been slow to materialise.

Raisi, meanwhile, has seen growing support from those who think Donald Trump will form a closer alliance with Saudi Arabia against Iran.

The first round of voting, on Friday May 19, will see the four candidates battle it out in a bid to win a 50 percent majority. If none reach the magic 50, a head-to-head run-off between the two leading candidates will take place on May 26.
 
We've been keeping a close eye on the presidential debates, the winners and losers, and we'll also be providing all your post-election analysis.

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