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‘Shadow Candidate’ Phenomenon Prevails in Iran’s Presidential Race

‘Shadow Candidate’ Phenomenon Prevails in Iran’s Presidential Race

Monday, 17 May, 2021 - 10:30
Saeed Mohammad, a former Revolutionary Guards general, registers as a candidate for the presidential election at the Interior Ministry, in Tehran, Iran May 11, 2021. (WANA via Reuters)

The phenomenon of the “shadow candidate” is prevailing in Iran’s presidential race scheduled for June 18, amid a high number of participants from the both the reformist and conservative camps.

The advisor to the Iranian spiritual guide for cultural affairs and the head of the coalition of revolutionary forces, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel called on his allies to “exclusively” support the chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, who submitted his candidacy on Saturday.

This is his second run for the presidency. In 2017, he was defeated by incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.

“The time has come to take a step towards another stage, with the end of the registration of candidates in the presidential elections, amid a wide range of political trends,” Haddad-Adel said in a statement released by Iranian official agencies.

He continued: “It is the duty of all revolutionary forces... to deploy the utmost effort to support the election race.” He pledged that their candidate would work to fight corruption and alleviate people’s problems.

Meanwhile, ISNA published on Sunday a list of the most prominent candidates, including former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who turned against his conservative allies after the end of his second term. Candidates from the Revolutionary Guards include General Mohsen Rezaee, the Secretary-General of the Expediency Council, one of the most prominent hardliners in the regime, General Saeed Mohammad, advisor to the commander of the Guard, and General Rustam Qasimi, deputy economic affairs for the commander of al-Quds Force.

The list also included the most prominent advisers of the Iranian spiritual leader, namely the former speaker of parliament, moderate Ali Larijani, and Governor Saeed Jalili, Khamenei’s representative in the Supreme National Security Council and a member of the Strategic Committee for Foreign Relations.

Thirteen current and former deputies submitted their candidacies, including Amir Hussein Qazi Zadeh Hashemi, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Chairman of the Energy Committee, Fereydoun Abbasi and Chair of the Production Support Committee, Shamsuddin Hosseini, Masoud Bazashkian, one of the most prominent reformist MPs, and Alireza Zakani, head of the Parliament Research Center.

It is expected that some candidates would withdraw in favor of others from the same camp, a few days before the polls, in line with what is known as the “shadow candidate”. The phenomenon sees several candidates from one camp pull out in favor of garnering more support to the main candidate.

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