Iran is choosing a brand new president. Here’s what to know. | EUROtoday

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A bit of over a month after the sudden dying of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, Iranians will vote for his or her subsequent president this Friday. With six candidates on the poll and no clear favourite, the end result is way from sure — a transparent change, analysts say, from the final election.

“Ebrahim Raisi was elected in an entirely uncompetitive election in 2021 when the results were preordained,” mentioned Arash Azizi, a author and historian who focuses on Iran. “The results are not preordained this time.”

Iran’s political system means the president has restricted energy. The Islamic republic’s supreme chief — the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — maintains direct or oblique management of all branches of presidency, in addition to of the army and the media. However, the following president might have a major influence on every day life, together with spiritual necessities and gown restrictions — consequential in a rustic just lately rocked by protests demanding freedom for ladies within the theocracy.

Votes could possibly be tallied as quickly as Sunday. But consultants assume it doubtless that not one of the six contenders will win a easy majority, wherein case Iranians will take to the polls as soon as extra in July for a runoff election between the 2 front-runners.

Individuals searching for election to Iran’s presidency or parliament should obtain approval from the Guardian Council, which vets candidates to make sure they adhere to the ideas of the Islamic republic. In observe, all 12 members of the council — six clerics and 6 jurists — are instantly or not directly appointed by Khamenei.

Eighty candidates entered the race to be president. The council permitted six, all of whom are males. One or extra contenders might drop out within the ultimate stretch, Iran watchers informed The Washington Post, and throw their weight behind a unity candidate as in previous elections.

Ghalibaf, 62, has served as speaker of parliament since 2020 and was mayor of Tehran from 2005 to 2017. He boasts an in depth army historical past — together with three years as commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ air drive — and maintains shut ties to the IRGC, a strong political drive inside the Islamic republic. A conservative, Ghalibaf is thought for his function in harsh crackdowns on scholar protesters in Iran whereas serving as an IRGC basic and later as police chief.


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Though he served because the nation’s nuclear negotiator, Jalili is a critic of worldwide negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Jalili, 58, is a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, which was initially set as much as resolve conflicts between parliament and the Guardian Council however serves in observe as an advisory physique to Khamenei. If elected, Jalili is anticipated to proceed the cruel crackdown on anti-government protesters and on Iranian ladies accused of violating the nation’s obligatory hijab guidelines.

Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi

Hashemi, 53, was one in all Raisi’s vice presidents and has campaigned on a continuation of the previous president’s insurance policies, together with strengthening Iran’s ties with its neighbors.

Described by analysts as the only real reformist within the race, Pezeshkian is a coronary heart surgeon who has based mostly his marketing campaign round Iranian ladies, youth and ethnic minorities. He has taken the alternative nuclear platform from Jalili, as a substitute campaigning on the purpose of reopening nuclear talks with the West. Pezeshkian, 69, served as vp of Iran’s parliament from 2016 to 2020, strongly supported the 2015 nuclear deal, and challenged the official authorities narrative in regards to the 2022 dying of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian lady who died in police custody after being detained for allegedly not carrying her hijab.

Pourmohammadi is the one cleric within the race. A conservative, Pourmohammadi, 64, beforehand served as inside minister below President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and later as justice minister below President Hassan Rouhani. Pourmohammadi, like Raisi, held a number one function within the 1988 executions of hundreds of political prisoners held in Iranian jails.

Zakani, 58, has been mayor of Tehran since 2021 and was a member of parliament from 2004 to 2016, then once more from 2020 to 2021. He tried to run for president in 2013 and 2017 however didn’t obtain approval from the Guardian Council till 2021, when he ultimately withdrew to again Raisi. Zakani’s platform consists of guarantees of free well being care for ladies and the aged in addition to of the revitalization of Iran’s foreign money, the rial.

The 74 disqualified candidates embody authorities officers and lawmakers — even a former president — in addition to seven ladies.

“Only those who accept the fundamentals of this deeply undemocratic system of the Islamic republic have ever been allowed to run,” Azizi mentioned.

If Iranians prove to vote, it might assist the only real reformist candidate

While Pezeshkian is taken into account the only real reformist within the six-candidate lineup, some view him as a possible front-runner.

“It really depends on the voter turnout,” mentioned Michelle Grisé, a senior coverage researcher at Rand. “Allowing Pezeshkian to run could be viewed as an attempt to increase voter turnout, but we’ll see whether he’ll succeed in appealing to an electorate that is overwhelmingly disillusioned at this point.”

Less than half of the citizens voted in the latest presidential election in 2021, and the March parliamentary elections noticed traditionally low turnout, in line with Grisé.

But the 2021 election was largely thought-about to be preordained in favor of Raisi, prompting many Iranians — particularly these annoyed by the ayatollah’s conservative regime — to boycott voting altogether.

“The question is, ‘Do Iran’s moderates turn out in favor of Pezeshkian, or do they not turn out at all?’” defined Heather Williams, additionally a senior coverage researcher at Rand, including that the regime needs “turnout, though they would rather not get who the turnout is going to come out for.”

The election is being held early after the sudden dying of the final president

Iran was slated to carry its subsequent presidential election in 2025, however the sudden dying of Raisi moved the election up by a yr. Raisi died in a helicopter crash on May 19 at age 63. According to the Islamic republic’s structure, a particular election have to be held inside 50 days.

Elected in 2021, Raisi was extensively thought to be the victor of a rigged race, an effort by the ayatollah to uphold his conservative regime. Some analysts believed Raisi was the ayatollah’s desired successor.

In the wake of Amini’s dying in 2022, mass protests calling for the theocracy’s dissolution broke out Iran and all over the world. Raisi oversaw a safety crackdown throughout which greater than 500 individuals have been killed, in line with a tally from the nongovernmental group Iran Human Rights. Iran later introduced it had pardoned greater than 22,000 who had been arrested.

Raisi’s dying got here at a time of accelerating instability and violence within the Middle East. The conflict in Gaza has sparked an uptick within the always simmering tensions between Iran and Israel, as violence rises on Lebanon’s southern border, within the Red Sea, and in Syria and Iraq, The Post reported final month. In April, Raisi oversaw the largest-ever Iranian assault towards Israel in retaliation for a lethal Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria.

Most political energy in Iran is held by the supreme chief

Constitutionally, the president ranks second to the supreme chief, who holds many of the energy and is “the ultimate decision-making authority” on nationwide safety and protection, in line with Grisé. The ayatollah has in recent times “effectively encroached” on the president’s purview, Azizi mentioned, and seized extra energy.

However, as head of presidency, the president holds necessary duties over parts of every day life in Iran, together with overseeing the nationwide funds and signing laws and treaties.

Crucially, the president of the Islamic republic influences how strict its morality police are in implementing the theocracy’s spiritual codes and gown restrictions, in addition to the extent of freedom that Iran’s media is allowed to exert.

“Then there are also some day-to-day freedoms that maybe we don’t think about as much, like who is allowed to attend sporting events or how many people are allowed to gather in public, or if women are allowed to dance publicly,” Williams mentioned.