FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
High-stakes battle: on the Iran elections
Posted:May 17, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
With Iranians going to the polls on Friday to elect a President, the odds appear to be in favour of the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani. Since the 1979 Revolution, all but the first President of the Islamic Republic, who had been impeached, have served two terms. Mr. Rouhani is particularly popular among the reformist section of the electorate, and is seeking to return to office on a clear political platform of integrating Iran further with the global order and initiating reforms at home. 
 
Still, his victory in the first round, for which he needs more than 50% of the vote, is far from certain. In 2013, after eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rule, which saw Iran’s international isolation grow and repression at home harden, voters across the spectrum rallied behind Mr. Rouhani. He had promised to break Iran’s isolation, resolve the nuclear crisis through diplomatic means and turn that into economic benefit for all citizens. He delivered on some of those promises. 
 
He clinched the nuclear deal and oversaw greater Iranian engagement on the world stage. But he has yet to make good on his goal of attracting foreign direct investment and modernising the economy. It is partly not in his hands. International companies and banking giants still shy away from making deals with Tehran. Though the UN-mandated sanctions on Iran were lifted after the nuclear deal, the non-nuclear sanctions imposed by the U.S. are still in place.
 
 The expected thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran did not take place in the wake of geopolitical tensions in West Asia. Worse, the Trump administration’s anti-Iran rhetoric is not only scaring off western investors but also playing it into the hands of the hardliners in Iran.
 
 
The hardliners now see an opportunity to take back power from the “elitist” Mr. Rouhani. Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric and a former aide of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is Mr. Rouhani’s main rival. Though Mr. Khamenei has not openly endorsed any candidate, the clerical establishment’s preference is no secret. The Iranian presidency is not a strong institution compared to other presidential systems. In the Islamic Republic, real power lies with the Supreme Leader, who is not directly elected by the people.
 
 Nonetheless, the office of the President lends credence to the country’s theocratic system, and a visionary, popular leader can manoeuvre within the limitations and push his agenda gradually. Mohammad Khatami, one of Mr. Rouhani’s predecessors, tried to do so, with limited success. Though his first term was not flawless, Mr. Rouhani has demonstrated that he is capable of navigating through Iran’s complex power dynamics, perhaps more efficiently than Mr. Khatami could. It is now his chance to convince voters to give him one more term so he can continue this gradualist but substantive reform agenda.
 
The Hindu, May 18, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Vitaly A. Prima, Ambassador of Belarus to India for close to five years, is very enthusiastic about the future of bilateral relations as the two countries mark 25 years of diplomatic relations. Resident in New Delhi, Prima is also his country’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
 
read-more
India’s top diplomats held a four-day brainstorming session in New Delhi this month to strategise and decide how India should engage with major global powers and countries in the immediate neighbourhood, writes Nilova Roy Chaudhury
 
read-more
Video Gallery

 
see-more
Is it the Modi magic or Modi cult propelling the BJP to new heights with the opposition pulverised and decimated by the split vote banks of these parties in large parts of India? The BJP has gained five states in the assembly elections but lost Delhi and Bihar, writes Lalit Sethi
 
read-more
Several prominent citizens from different walks of life have called for a declaration of ceasefire in Kashmir during the month of Ramzan, beginning on Friday. Their appeal needs to be immediately heeded, both by the Centre and the state government.
 
read-more
Recently, quite a few stories have appeared on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in both local and international publications.
 
read-more
What a week it has been for the Middle East! People of Iran came out in droves to re-elect Rouhani as president for another term.
 
read-more
Poor Donald Trump. Back from his whirlwind Middle East tour — to escape rumours about how deep his closeness to a certain world leader runs — only to find talk of his loose lips still looming large, rather like a third presence, over the NATO summit.
 
read-more
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive