A moderate victory?

The Iranian elections should not be viewed as the final word in the political struggle between the wielders of power.

By SIMA SHINE
March 15, 2016 15:12
Elections in Iran

Elections in Iran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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THE LATE February elections for the Iranian parliament and Assembly of Experts constituted a first test of relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s leadership, after the nuclear agreement he shepherded and the subsequent lifting of economic sanctions on Iran. Nationwide engagement in the electoral process was intense. Indeed, in light of the high voter turnout –approximately 60 percent – the authorities were compelled to keep the polls open for a few hours after their scheduled closing times.

The element of “choice” in elections in Iran differs from that in the West. Of the thousands of registered candidates, only those who successfully passed the vetting process of the Guardian Council (12 clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader, the ailing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) were permitted to run.

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