Conservative former parliament speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel has withdrawn from Iran’s presidential election, in a move that will improve the chances of other conservative candidates.
Haddad Adel, had been a member of a coalition of conservative “Principlist” candidates that included Tehran Mayor Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati.
“With my withdrawal I ask the dear people to strictly observe the criteria of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] when they vote for candidates,” he said on Monday.
Haddad Adel, who is a close adviser and a relative by marriage of Khamenei, did not endorse a single candidate, but called for a hardline conservative victory.
“I advise the dear people to take a correct decision so that either a Principlist wins in the first round, or if the election runs to a second round, the competition be between two Principlists.”
Haddad Adel was speaker of parliament from 2005 to 2008, but failed to secure the position again in 2012 when Ali Larijani , the current speaker, obtained the most votes.
Haddad Adel was approved to run in the election last month by the Guardian Council, a vetting body of clerics and jurists, along with seven other men who are largely conservatives close to Khamenei.
The presidential vote on Friday will be Iran’s first since 2009.