Iran presidential race: top clerics may lose to non-partisan nominee
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 6
By Dalga Khatinoglu, Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:
There has been increasing speculations over the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in Iran to be held May 19.
Whether or not incumbent President Hassan Rouhani will assume the power for the second term is mere speculation.
Moderate Rouhani, backed by a group of reformists will have to fight off the challenge from an influential conservative cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, alongside with several independent nominees.
A large number of conservatives appear to throw their full support behind Ebrahim Raisi who currently holds the position of the custodian of a wealthy charity and the organization in charge of the holiest Shia shrine of Iran based in the city of Mashhad.
However, these two clerics are not the only potential nominees as some observers say the both camps, conservatives and reformists, have so far failed to unite in favor of a single candidate.
Saeed Yari, the secretary general of a non-state organization for protecting national interests, has said that the independent candidates enjoy better chances to win the election concerning the country’s current political landscape.
According to Yari, there are differences in reformists’ camp over giving support to Rouhani. Therefore a considerable part of reformists will probably back a pro-reformist but independent candidate rather than Rouhani.
In the meantime some other analysts suggest that Rouhani does not enjoy as much public support as his nuclear deal with the world has failed to improve the economic situation of the ordinary people.
However, Hassan Lasjerdi, a lecturer at Tehran University and political expert, believes that Rouhani’s administration has relatively performed well in improving the county’s ties with the rest of the world through resolving the issue of the country’s nuclear program.
According to Saeed Yari, the conservatives’ camp also suffers from considerable gaps, forecasting that several nominees would possibly represent conservatives in the election as it is impossible to create a pro-conservative coalition in the current situation.
The public trust in Ebrahim Raisi, then attorney general of Iran, also appears to fall due to the weak performance of the country’s judiciary system, though Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may support him, Yari says.
Yari believes that the clerics both, Raisi and Rouhani, may lose ground to a non-partisan nominee who manages to secure the trust of the public.