Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, April 10, 2017

Politics in Iran

President Rouhani has a new rival in the race for his office.

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi enters Iran's presidential race
Iran is bracing for a heated and divisive election season after a powerful conservative cleric threw himself into the presidential race to challenge the moderate incumbent, Hassan Rouhani…

Ebrahim Raisi, who is a close ally of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has upended the race with a surprise declaration that he would put his name on the list…

Raisi has been touted as a frontrunner to become Khamenei’s successor, a higher position than that of the president. His bid for presidency has puzzled Iranian political commentators about his intentions and what his candidacy would mean for Rouhani…

Elections are scheduled for 19 May…

A group of influential conservatives in Iran, operating under the umbrella coalition known as the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, or Jamna, held party conferences in the past weeks to shortlist their favourite nominees. Raisi received more votes than any other figure in their list of top five nominees…

Reformists, who have been sidelined in recent years, are expected to back Rouhani…

The Guardian understands that many reformists believe that they should nominate a second candidate to shadow and ultimately server as a substitute for Rouhani in case he is disqualified or otherwise drops out. Sources said Rouhani was opposed to the idea and believed more reformist candidates would increase the possibility of him being disqualified. The establishment would be reluctant to block him if there were no other reformist candidate because the system usually avoids holding elections that are lackluster.

Raisi, 56, is the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, the wealthiest charity in the Muslim world and the organisation in charge of Iran’s holiest shrine. He had barely reached adulthood by the 1979 Islamic revolution but rose quickly through the ranks. In the summer of 1988, he was one of the four sharia judges behind the mass execution of leftists and dissidents. More recently he was Iran’s prosecutor general.

Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, an Iranian political analyst and the son of an opposition leader under house arrest, Mehdi Karroubi, said May’s elections were important because “whoever wins will undoubtedly have a role in the appointment of the next supreme leader”.
See also: Bonyads

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