|In a statement issued late
Monday, Mohammad Kahtami officially withdrew his presidential bid in
favor of former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi. In his statement
the former president called Mousavi a "capable manager" who can
govern the country efficiently.
He said he withdrew presidential candidacy to rob the opportunity from certain persons or groups who wish to "sow discord among reformists".
He also added, "I will use all my energy for holding a free and fair election."
|Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi announced presidential bid on March 10.|
Reformists' votes will be divided between
Mousavi and Karroubi
A reformist cleric believes that reformists' votes will be divided between Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi as Khatami officially withdrew his candidacy in favor of Mousavi.
|Reformist Mehdi Karroubi|
Mohammad-Ali Abtahi of the Central Council of Association of Combatant Clerics told the Mehr News Agency that ACC declared its objection to Khatami's decision in a meeting on Monday.
On which candidate - Mousavi or Karroubi - enjoys more support among reformists, the cleric said that the issue "needs more examination".
Abtahi said the ACC has not yet discussed which candidate to back. However, ACC Secretary General Hadi Khamenei said on Saturday that his association will support Mousavi in the presidential race.
Khatami's withdrawal is serious: reformist
Yadollah Eslami, the secretary general of Former
Lawmakers' Association, stated on Monday that the subject of withdrawing
presidential candidacy by Mohammad Khatami in favor of Mir-Hossein Mousavi
He said Khatami has no thirst for power.
In an interview with the Mehr News Agency, the former MP predicted that Khatami will elaborate on the reasons if he finally drops out of the race.
|President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has not formally announced his candidacy but is widely expected to seek another term.|
Eslami hoped Khatami to reconsider the decision because his withdrawal will greatly influence the election climate.
Asked whether former Majlis speaker Mahdi Karroubi also withdraw candidacy in favor of Mousavi, Eslami answered Karroubi has not announced his withdrawal under any condition and he had a clear stand from the first.
Khatami declared his candidacy on February 8. He had said earlier that whether he or former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi contest the election.
Mousavi announced presidential bid on March 10.
Before Mousavi officially announced his candidacy on March 10, Khatami had said he would drop out of the race if Mousavi made up his mind to take up the challenge.
... Payvand News - 03/17/09 ... --