Iran Election 2013 – Your Questions Answered

On Friday, Iran is holding an election for a new president. In total 7 contenders are hoping to gain the presidency after 1 contender dropped out earlier this month. Although Iran has no true political parties the candidates are ideological distinct (4 are conservatives and 3 are cautious reformers)

Is the current President standing?

The current president – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – is unable to serve another term after already serving a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Who are the candidates for the presidency?

Pro-Khamenei candidates:

– Saeed Jalili who is Iran’s security of the National Security Council and a chief negotiator in foreign affairs

– Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, mayor of Tehran

– Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide of Khamenei

– Mohsen Rezai

The reform candidates:

– Mohammad Reza Aref, the former vice-president

– Hassan Rowhani, former nuclear negotiator

– Mohammad Gharazi, an ex-minister

Who did not make it through vetting?

In total 678 people desired to stand for the presidency, with only 8 candidates (now 7) remaining after the vetting process. This process is meant to “prevent corruption and deviation”, according to one jurist. It includes background checks on police records, court records, and registry records for loyalty to Islam. After, the Guardian Council (12 Muslim clergymen) help the vetting process, but this has led critics to believe that many candidates are ‘hand-picked’ because of their loyalty to Islam.

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Are the they concerned about a low turnout?

This does appear to be the case. Authorities have made changes to hold local council elections for the same day as well as by-elections for the Assembly of Experts (a group of clerics that appoint the supreme leader). By combining all the elections into one day is a hopeful attempt to boost voter turnout.

What are the election issues?

The economy is in a very poor state, mostly as a result of the country’s nuclear programme.  All the candidates have declared their intention of improving the economy. The pro-Khamenei candidates have also talked about privatisation and fighting corruption whilst the reformers talked about improving world relation. However, NO candidate has mentioned the nuclear programme, which is the cause of their messy economy.

How does the election work?

One candidate needs to have over 50% of the vote to win. If no candidate gets that in the first round and run-off will be held between the top 2 candidates to ensure one candidate gets the majority of votes required to win. On 3rd August the president is to be sworn in.

Who will winner?

Although opinion polls and media coverage of the election is often unreliable the informal polls in Iran show that the moderate reformer Hassan Rowhani has a strong lead. But, it is hard to say and all we can do is wait and see…

Keep reading my blog to find out the result of this election in 2 months time!

What are your thoughts on the election in Iran? How should the candidates tackle the crippling economy?

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

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Legitimacy In The UK And Around The World

What Is Legitimacy?

Legitimacy is the principle that a regime, institution or individual has a legitimate right to exercise power. Legitimacy is usually, though not always, bestowed through election, but the legitimacy of many political bodies can be disputed. It is a contestable term in that it is not always clear whether an institution is legitimate or not as we will show you using these UK and world examples that follow.

Legitimacy in the UK’s political bodies

– The House of Commons is legitimate because it is elected. However, many claim that the electoral college system is unfair and distorts political representation, so legitimacy can be challenged

– The House of Lords is arguable not legitimate because its members are not elected. However, it does have traditional authority and its political influence remains widely recognised

– UK government is legitimate because it is elected with a clear mandate to govern. However, every government in the UK has been elected with a minority of the popular vote, so we can challenge its legitimacy

– The power of the Prime Minister is legitimate because it is widely acknowledged that he/she is the supreme policy maker in the political system. However, there is no legal basis for prime ministerial power, so it could be said to lack legitimacy

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Legitimacy can be challenged far more in other countries

– Regimes that seize power by force are not considered to be legitimate. This applies to the government of Cuba, where the communist party came to power after a civil war

– States which have one-party systems, such as China, lack democratic legitimacy even though they might receive widespread popular support

– States where democracy is considered to be a facade or ‘sham’ lack legitimacy, such as in Iran

– Hereditary monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, lack democratic legitimacy

Thank you very much for reading, please do tell us why the country you live in is legitimate/not legitimate?

Digestible Politics

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