File - In this May 2, 2017 file photo, Tehran's mayor and conservative presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, center right, listens to a cleric on his arrival to attend a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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Tehran's conservative mayor dropped out of Iran's presidential election Monday to back a hard-liner believed to be close to the country's supreme leader, consolidating the opposition aiming to unseat moderate President Hassan Rouhani.Qalibaf's decision brings the number of candidates competing in Friday's election to five.Qalibaf pulled in 4 million votes in the first round of balloting in 2005 and over 6 million in 2013 .With Qalibaf out and Ahmadinejad rejected as a candidate by the religious council that oversees Iran's election, Raisi now becomes the hard-liners' best hope to unseat Rouhani. It also suggests that Iran's election will be decided in the first round, which requires the winner to get over 50 percent of the total vote.Rouhani squeaked through in the first round of 2013 with 50.7 percent of the vote.
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