Brain Bush’s Blog

Iranian Presidential Elections

  • By : Brian Bush
  • June 14, 2013
  • 6:10 pm

Hello Friends!

A major development in the News here in the Middle East is that, after meeting with leaders of the protesters in Turkey, Prime Minister Erdogan has backed down on plans to develop a park in central Istanbul – the plan of which set of two weeks of anti-government rallies.

But perhaps the bigger news is that millions of Iranians are voting today for their new president.

This is the first election since 2009. There are six candidates, all seen as conservatives, running to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

None of these men is seen as seeking to change Iran's system of clerical rule.

It is interesting to note that 5 of the candidates have criticized Ahmadinejad's ways that have resulted in economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation.

The one candidate who has not gone negative on the incumbent is Iran's public face of the ongoing nuclear negotiations Saeed Jalili.

One man, Mr. Hassan Rouhani, is distinguishing himself from the others – with some even calling him a moderate. This is because he has come out saying that Iran should re-engage with the West, and that he would free political prisoners and reform of the media. He also has the surprising endorsement of two ex-presidents.

Although the country has a President, his office administrates the day to day operations of the country.

In this Islamic Republic, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the boss. His is the ultimate word, and has not publicly endorsed any candidate.

Khamenei has called on his 50 million eligible voters to come out in force and vote – and they indications are that they have responded.

Long queues are evidence perhaps that turnout may wind up being higher than expected. It has been announced that the polling stations across Iran will stay open an extra two hours tonight to handle the crowds.

You may recall that after the 2009 election there were allegations of fraud and violent protests lead to unrest for months.

How it works in Iran's elections is that if no candidate wins at least 50.1%, a second round will be held in a week's time. Candidates have three days to file complaints regarding polling.

An announcement of the winner should be made over the weekend.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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