Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Personalized issue-politics

Without recognizable political parties, politics in Iran becomes personalized.

Establishment factions to face off in Iranian elections
Iran has begun gearing up for elections that will represent a showdown between two factions that just three years ago formed a united establishment against the opposition Green Movement.

In parliamentary elections March 2, supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will face off against an alliance of hard-line clerics, Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders and bazaar merchants who had been instrumental in keeping Ahmadinejad in power before they turned against him.

Both groups are striving for a majority in a parliament that can either obstruct or speed up initiatives by Ahmadinejad’s government… [C]lerics and commanders are accusing Ahmadinejad’s advisers of plotting to push them from power and to reduce the role of Islam in the country…

The two sides have lately been engaged in bitter, public disputes, calling each other “tumors,” “sorcerers” and “thieves.” Some of Ahmadinejad’s advisers have been arrested by the judiciary — which is linked to his opponents — and influential religious leaders have called for the death of the president’s closest aide.

While both factions claim ownership of the 1979 Islamic revolution and its ideals, Ahmadinejad supporters say they are a new generation that wants to root out corruption caused by the old. “People power” is an important theme in their public statements…

While discontent has seemingly grown among those who protested in 2009, Iran’s Green Movement has largely remained silent throughout the Arab uprisings of the past year. The movement’s cause has been overshadowed by the fighting within the Iranian establishment, and because its leaders are in jail, under house arrest or barred from competing in the elections, the movement’s backers have no one to support in March…

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