NORMAN, Okla. – After the nomination of Trump this year, then the French presidential elections a few weeks ago it is now the turn of the Iranians to elect their president on May 19 to decide the future of their world.
As previous elections cited above, Iranians will have the choice between two main candidates, the current president of Iran, Hassan Rohani, considered as a moderate and Ebrahim Raisi, former Attorney General of Iran and represents the conservative side.
There are also two other minor candidates, Mostafa Mir-Salim, who represent the Islamic Coalition Party, a conservative political party that favors economic liberalism and Mostafa Hashemitaba, a reformist candidate close to the former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Rohani is pro-rapprochement with the west as it is proven with the Nuclear Deal but there has been only little economic gain since the deal was officially signed on July 14, 2015. Even if inflation has dropped from 35 percent to less than 10 percent, increased oil production and ended some of the international sanctions, the unemployment rate increased up to 12.1 percent, a situation even worse for workers aged 15-24 with 29 percent of them without a job.
Rohani’s supporters are mostly the young generation, religious and ethnic minorities such as Sunni (Iran has a Shi’a majority by 90 percent), and Kurds and Arabs.
Raisi, a cleric (as Rohani), who is considered to be a possible successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is a populist promising to increase employment by six million, improve agricultural sector and stop corruption.
The people from the conservatives and religious regions of Mashad, Qom and rural areas are mostly to vote more for Raisi.
According to the last poll conducted by Ippo group, Rohani is credited with 60 percent of the vote but Raisi can count on the renouncement of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, conservative candidate and actual mayor of Teheran to fill the gap and thereby avoid a Rohani victory in the first round.
Although the role of the Iranian president is limited and greatly dependent of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, the parliament and the Revolution Guard it can also be for the one who is elected open the door of the Supreme Leader seat, the highest-ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran that is chosen by the Assembly of Experts. And as Ali Khamenei is almost 78 years old, it is greatly possible that in the next few years a new Supreme Leader will have to be elected.
In addition, as almost all the political oppositions had been wiped out since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, even if they have differences in their programs, the presidential candidates are all different branches of the same tree. The best example that can be given is Rohani and Raisi are both members of the Combatant Clergy Association, a conservative movement created in 1977 by a group of clerics with intentions to use Islamic culture and traditions to overthrow the Shah.
Still, with a turnout of 72.77 percent during the last presidential election in 2013, it is a formidable way to justify the existence of the Republic Islamic of Iran, in constant need of legitimacy. And for the Iranian people, a way to express their dissatisfaction toward the actual regime.
About 55 millions of electors will have the task to elect their new president on May 19, among them 2.5 million are living abroad. Iranians living in Oklahoma will also have the chance to vote in Oklahoma City.