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Jun 10, 2024, 9:07am EDT
Middle East
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Semafor Signals

Iran selects six hardliner presidential candidates in ‘predictable’ election campaign

Insights from the Middle East Eye, Iran International, The Economist, and Financial Times

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Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. Wikimedia Commons
Frontrunner candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. Wikimedia Commons
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The News

Iranian authorities approved six mostly hardline candidates to run in this month’s presidential election in a campaign analysts say will herald few surprises.

Iran is facing a possible succession crisis after President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash last month, triggering the snap election. Raisi was expected to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a former military commander and relative of Khamenei, is favored to win the presidential vote. But as Qalibaf is not a cleric, like Raisi, he is unlikely to succeed Khamenei. The favorite to succeed Khamenei is now his own son.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Iran establishment prefers weak presidents

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Source:  
Middle East Eye

Tehran has prioritized conservative-leaning candidates over reformists, despite sinking voter turnout and disengagement, the Middle East Eye reported. The Iranian establishment prefers candidates that won’t mobilize the public, one political expert explained. “The political faction that is now in favour of the government, in fact, the fundamentalist movement that supports the government, seeks to prevent the formation of a rational space in society for this election. Fundamentalists seek to elect a president even weaker than the previous president under such circumstances,” Mohammad Mohajeri said.

Calls rise among dissidents for boycott

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Source:  
Iran International

Tehran’s critics said the election was “highly engineered” and urged a boycott, UK-based outlet Iran International reported. Iran’s Guardian Council, a 12-person panel that chooses the presidential candidates, allowed just six candidates out of a pool of 80. Calling it a “pseudo-election,” the coalition organization Coordination for a Secular Democratic Republic in Iran called on supporters to reaffirm their commitment to the Woman, Life, Freedom movement that sprung up after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody nearly two years ago. “The ultimate outcome of the continued existence of this regime is the spread of extremism both within and beyond Iran’s borders,” it said.

Election should leave little room for surprises

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Sources:  
The Economist, The Financial Times

The election is designed to leave little to chance, with reformist candidates excluded, The Economist noted. That virtually guarantees the election of Qalibaf, especially amid high voter dissatisfaction and low-turnout. “The country’s leaders have ensured that the election campaign that begins on Monday to choose [Raisi’s] successor will be as predictable as possible,” the outlet wrote. Two candidates that had promised to move Iran away from its present hardline stance and pursue the easing of US sanctions were among those disqualified, the Financial Times reported.

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