Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Election update

1)According to reports, 1010 men and women have registered for the 9th presidential elections. What this implies, I think, is that many still do not really seem to understand what the term president, or head of a nation means.
There were a number of famous figures among those who registered,. Nasser Hejazi was one of them. He was Iran's goalkeeper in in 1970s, and former captain and head coach of one the two most favourite football sides in Iran, that is, the Esteqlal team of Tehran (the other being Persepolis). Obviously not many have taken his bid for candidature seriously enough, but I think if he manages to get through the GC filter, he will certainly pose a challenge to other contenders. Let's not forget he possesses many qualities that others surely lack. To mention a few, he has the charismatic character, he has the look, he is very well-known and popular, and, on top of all that, he is certainly not a "Hezbollahi" (i.e. he can hardly be see a figure with affiliations to the regime).I am certain the GC will weigh up the benefits of approving him. Among others, they might consider that Hejazi might be able to attract the youth's votes and in this way prevent those votes from going to a reformist (anti-hardliner) candidate (which has often been the case). However, they might also consider disqualifying Hejazi for his lack of 'practical belief in the 'principle of velayat faghih'or on the grounds of his probable connections with the Monarchy before the Islamic Revolution.
2)As anticipated, Rafsanjani's candidature has upset the conservative hardliners, particularly those loyal to the Leader Khamenei. Yesterday, a number of Majlis deputies fiercefully reacted to a speech by one of their colleagues, in support of Rafsanjani. Bahonar, Majlis' acting speaker who is also the head of Larijani's election headquarters, criticised that MP for making such comments in support of a candidate in the Parliament. Bahonar reminded the MP of the 'rule' made by MPs that no statement be made for or against any candidate.
3)Ebrahim Yazdi, who served as foreign minister of the first post-revolutionary cabinet, also registered to run for the election. As the head of the 'outlawed' Nehzate-e Azadi (Freedom Movement) he has little chance to get through the GC filter.
4)Despite all these recent developmnets, the mood among people has barely changed. Latest polls show that less than fifty per cent of people will cast their votes on the 17th of June. On streets, still there is no sign of excitement about the election. Recalling the mood in the lead up to the past two presidential elections in 1997 and 2001, this calm mood among people is clearly indicative of lack of trust or interest in the candidates.

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