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Will bigger cash handouts land conservatives Iranian presidency?

Iranian conservative presidential candidates continue their strategy of making promises focused on increasing monthly cash subsidy payments and creating millions of jobs.
Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi attends a campaign rally in the capital Tehran on April 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

With two weeks to go to Iran’s May 19 presidential election, Principlist candidates have embarked on a competition to see who can attract more voters by making bigger campaign promises.

Conservative hopefuls Ebrahim Raisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf have placed their focus on Iran’s lower classes, which they hope to win over mainly with monetary promises. Ghalibaf said April 24 that if elected he would increase monthly cash handouts, which were initiated by the government of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-13), increasing them up to 2.5 million rial (around $66) from the current 455,000 rial (around $12) per month. The next day, April 25, Raisi vowed to triple the monthly cash payments.

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