Iran’s parliamentary polls: A litmus test for Hassan Rouhani
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2016-02-26 11:27:21

Iran’s parliamentary polls: A litmus test for Hassan Rouhani

 

Iran

 

Iranians cast their ballots to elect new members of parliament and a council of clerics in elections seen as a referendum on President Hassan Rouhani’s rule. An estimated 50 million people are eligible to vote on a pre-selected list of candidates during the polls on Friday. The elections take place just a month after years of economic sanctions against the country were lifted.Surveys indicated a higher turnout than at the previous parliamentary polls four years ago, but lower than the presidential contest that elected Rouhani in 2013. Despite the lifting of sanctions, Iran remains in deep economic crisis and the economy is in need of major revision. Structural reforms are going to be necessary, likewise political reform — and on both counts there are going to be winners and losers. The political landscape has split in the last 10 years and there has evolved what may be termed a ‘pragmatic centre’ that has both reformists and hardliners in it. There are 55 million Iranians eligible to vote. It is an educated and informed electorate whether reformist or hardline, and ordinary Iranians, whatever their inclination see elections as their one chance to influence ‘the system’. President Rouhani has seen an uptick in his popularity since the nuclear deal and his supporters would like to see him continue the reforms he promised when he was elected in 2013. Powerful conservatives are resistant, and prior to the election, 6,000 candidates, mostly moderate or reformist, were disqualified by the all-powerful Guardian Council — which is anything but reform-minded. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that he expected the election to produce a parliament that would reduce interference by foreign powers. Iran is emerging on to the world stage as a powerful and assertive player, a reality that some may find difficult to adjust to.

 

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

 

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