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Iranians go to the polls

There will be few countries in the world who will not be watching the outcome of tomorrow's presidential election with keen interest.  Al Arabiya reports:

"As the West, Arab Gulf states, Russia and China intently watch the Islamic Republic of Iran’s 2013 presidential elections – to be held in less than two weeks on June 14 – speculations have been raised surrounding Iran’s prospective president and the current six candidates who have are running for the 2013 election.

The question asked is who will be the winning candidate to inherit the presidency for the next four years, possibly eight? Who would be the political figure to manage Iran’s domestic policies, foreign policies, nuclear program, regional ambitions, and Tehran’s stance towards Assad’s regime? And finally, what characteristics will this prospective candidate bear?

First of all, it is crucial to note that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political spectrum significantly shrunk after the Guardian Council whittled down the 686 registered presidential candidates to a mere eight, before two candidates dropped out earlier this week. More fundamentally, this political spectrum was heavily impacted when the most powerful candidates from the reformist and moderate camps were banned from running. The approved presidential candidates are carefully handpicked by the country’s Guardian Council, the members of which are appointed by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali


Secondly, it is also worth noting that scholars who study the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political structure are cognizant of that fact that Iran’s presidential elections are marked with unpredictability. The last two presidents, Muhammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are two prominent examples of this character of unpredictability, as both presidents confronted the Supreme Leader and his establishments during their presidency.
Among the other candidates, there are two that hold the greatest odds in securing the conservative vote: Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Saeed Jalili.

This has served as a challenge to the hardliners, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and the Supreme Leader. As a result, the conservative ruling clerics became determined to remove the risk by banning the politically-undesirable candidates from the outset through their veto power and constitutionally-mandated authority of the Guardian Council members. This guarantees that the next president of Iran would possess the qualities favored by the hardliners, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and the Supreme Leader’s establishments."

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