Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reformists Line Up Behind Rafsanjani

The Reformist Consultative Council, chaired by former president Mohammad Khatami, declared its “wholehearted support” for Rafsanjani’s candidacy hours after he registered to run for another term as president. The endorsement makes official the formation of a grand coalition of moderates and reformists for the presidential election that takes place in 35 days. The move is expected to have a ripple effect on a large field of candidates who have registered to run:

  • The moderate and reformists candidates will be expected to withdraw in favor of Rafsanjani. They include Hassan Rouhani, Mostafa Kavakebian, Mohammad Reza Aref, Mohammad Shariatmadari and Masoud Pezeshkan.

  • The fragmented field of the ‘principlists’ (conservatives) is also expected to shrink significantly in search of a unity candidate able to challenge Rafsanjani. The Coalitions of Three and Five, representing traditional conservatives, are expected to untie behind a single candidate. Most likely Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf or Ali Akbar Velayati. The more fundamentalist groups, considered close to ultraconservative Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, are likely to unite behind Saeed Jalili. It is, however, not likely nor expected that the two principlist camps could field one single candidate, raising the prospect of a split in conservative votes in the first round of the election. 

  • The pro-Ahmadinejad forces will support Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie if he is candidacy is cleared by the Guardian Council. The principlists, who control the Guardian Council, will have a difficult choice to make in the five-day vetting period: If they disqualify Mashaie, his supporters, especially the young, will likely rally behind Rafsanjani, weakening the prospects of the principlist candidate(s). If they don’t disqualify Mashaie, against all their ideological and political instincts, they would assure the split of anti-principlist votes between Rafsanjani and Mashaie, strengthening their own prospects.
  • The unspoken factor in the election will be the role of the imprisoned leaders of the Green Movement: Rafsanjani would need the votes of the youths to seal his victory over principlists, and Mousavi and Karroubi’s support will be key here. However it’s not clear how openly he would seek their endorsements, considering the complications it could create for him with Khamenei and the establishment.

Video: Supporters of Rafsanjani and Khatami in a rally minutes after Rafsanjani declared his candidacy to run for president. Tehran, 11 May 2013 (YouTube)

Iran’s 2013 Presidential Election Series:

Part III: Iran’s Presidential Race Gets Underway
Part IV: Rafsanjani to Run for President


reader said...

Who said Iranian politics is boringly predetermined? This election is going to be full of intrigue, drama and unexpected twists making American elections look stone-cold - if not glacier!

Anonymous said...


As election nears, Iran's journalists are in chains

"Iranian authorities are holding at least 40 journalists in prison as the June presidential election approaches, the second-highest total in the world and a figure that reflects the government’s continuing determination to silence independent coverage of public affairs, a new analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found.

CPJ’s census of journalists imprisoned on April 15 also highlights the severe deterioration of freedom of expression in Iran over time. In December 2004, during the last full year of President Mohammad Khatami’s tenure, CPJ documented just one journalist in prison during its annual worldwide prison census. By December 2009, after a contested presidential election returned Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to office, the number had grown to 23 in CPJ’s annual census. CPJ surveys since that time have consistently shown 35 to 50 journalists in prison in Iran at any given time."

Anonymous said...

I hope some of us people in West do not hype up emotions and make western observers and agencies any hope of any unrest that might change things to their benefits, Remember such "khod-Shiriniha" would inevitably result in their (western) bitter disappointments when unrest don't happen and causes them to pass laws to starve and harm Iranians as punishment.

I am astound to see how naive some of us still are and consider the weak (against west) reformists, supported by only upper middle class Iranians in the past (mostly destroyed by the sanctions anyway) ,standing any chance.

They ( Reformists) get more coverage in western media than in the Iranian society. So please do not misguide the West and their so called idiotic think-tanks for they have no means to know anything and rely on what some Iranian bloggers write (outside Iran) , thinking it to be true,and not realizing it to be wishful thinking, thus making idiotic announcements that they have to uphold with even more idiotic actions... So as not to look like a fool.

..Rafsanjani Has other interests (his family) in mind that that of Iran's. Iranians are no fools and know this. He stands no chance. However, his participation guaranties a higher turn out.

Azari by fortune and Iranian by Grace of God
Dariush London

Mark Pyruz said...

By this, Rasfanjani gains some fraction of the roughly 30% peak percentage of the Reformist vote, not enough for a win on the first ballot.

Where will he get the necessary over-the-top votes should there be a runoff? From the pro-Ahmadinjead camp? From the other conservatives? Stranger things have happened but the old man certainly has his work cut out for him.

Interesting days ahead.

Nader Uskowi said...

Rafsanjani will be supported by the middle and upper classes for bringing normalcy to the country’s economy and its foreign relations. He will have the support of reformists loyal to Khatami. And he will get the backing of some of pro-Ahmadinejad supporters, especially if Mashaie is disqualified, or if Mashaie does not make it into the second round. Rafsanjani would then need to get the support of the youths. Khatami is a big help there, but not enough. He needs the subtle backing of Mousavi and Karrubi to get their vote. If anyone can pull off such a coalition, it is the elder statement of Iranian politics! He is the frontrunner now, and if the right environment, as outlined above, holds he might win in the first round, and win big!

Anonymous said...

Rafsanjani's biggest chance is the belief in the society that he can improve the economy and reduce the sanctions just look at the dollar price that dropped more than 100 toman. Many people might hate him but for better or worse Ahmadinejad mismanagement and sanctions makes the economy so bad that people are becoming so pragmatic. If people vote for Rafsanjan, unlike Khatami's first election, is for the minimum possible improvement in their daily life. By considering 10 million vote out of 26 million vote in 1384 as his initial base (around 38%) I think he has a good chance to get more than 50% by using the above phenomena

Anonymous said...

Nader, let's not get carried away, Mullah Rafsanjani is a vetted candidate and is a opportunist par-excellence. Some of us are old enough to have unfortunately seen his sycophantic and corrupt rule in the 80's and evil role in the continuation of the Iran-Iran war for his and his master Khomeini's political survival that sacrificed a million Iranian youth in vain. This slick willy is nearing 80 and what "positive" change can he bring? More corruption perhaps? If he gets "elected" we will have two mullahs at the top leadership positions.

Nader Uskowi said...

Your anti-Rafsanjani sentiments notwithstanding, and understandable, he is the only politician in today’s Iran who can come close to being the co-equal of the supreme leader and as such will have the authority and power needed to break from 8 years of disastrous right-wing policies under Ahmadinejad administration supported by the right. People need some normalcy in the country, and another Ahmadinejad-type will create more disasters. Of course, if you find an alternative today who can do all the above and be a democrat and honest and clean, you’ll have my full support.

Anonymous said...

NO politician holding office in this system can come close to being the co-equal of the supreme leader.

Anonymous said...

an 80 years old multimillionare is not a good choce for young iran socierty.
the peole will not elect rafsanjani
Some few hundert demonstrant from north Tehran enclave (seen imn this video) are not crucial.

They are better choices for the reformist f.e Hassan rohani will be a better president.

Anonymous said...

I think that the blog's owner has an aspiration to be a think-tank both ways; as a teacher of "students" on both sides... in the West and (in Iran too?).
The only problem is that his teaching, for couple decades, have many mistakes and in reality support those who are against true Iran's development by my opinion.

Rafsanjani's entrance to the election, will bring healthy ingredients ("dough") to the election's "baking" process.
One thing is for sure, that participation of voters will grow and will increase importance of representation's (majority's choices) legitimacy.

Rafsanjani's children and symphatizers will have no need to protest or support somebody, because Rafsanjani will be "heard at the top" with his opinions.

Even if the conservatives don't like him, Rafsanjani's choice as a next president of the Islamic Republic, would gain additional time for Iran to strenghten the country and could also uncover and magnify the West and its symphatizers' hipocrysy.

I personally don't object him as a choice, however I would like to hear a full presidential debate, before my final choices.


Anonymous said...

A little trivia: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was one of those who opposed any continuation of the war and wanted to accept Saddams appeal for peace.

Moe in Canada said...

How the Iranian regime treated its war veterans.

Anonymous said...

These idiots still haven't learned what happened back in 2009?
Oh wait they must be regime Sandist Khors.