Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 275

What to expect in Iran’s presidential election today

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 maggio 2017

persian gulfSINCE the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran has been a curious mixture of theocracy and democracy. Every four years, it goes through a great bout of electioneering to choose a new president among candidates pre-selected by a group of clerics. But real power lies in the hands of the supreme leader, and of various unelected branches that he controls, such as the judiciary and the Revolutionary Guards.The latest presidential campaign, waged with duelling Instagram videos and in competing Telegram channels, comes to a climax today as Iranians go to the polls. Hassan Rouhani, the country’s reformist president, hopes to be re-elected. He has taken the unusual step of criticising the powerful Revolutionary Guards, warning them “to stay in their own place”. Every Iranian president since 1981 has won a second term. Punters on PredictIt, a political betting website, reckon that Mr Rouhani is, indeed, the clear favourite to win, with the probability of victory above 80%. His main challenger is Ebrahim Raisi, a cleric who oversees Iran’s largest charity. He is the standard-bearer for hardliners disappointed by Mr Rouhani’s nuclear deal with America and other world powers, which has yet to produce a much-promised economic revival. The only other candidate to poll above single digits, Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf, dropped out of the race on May 15th and endorsed Mr Raisi.
IranPoll, a polling firm based in Canada, has provided The Economist with results from its survey taken on May 16th. Among respondents expressing an opinion, 58% said they planned to vote for Mr Rouhani, compared with just 36% for Mr Raisi. That would be enough for the incumbent to win outright in the first round. Even if a late swing in favour of the challenger forces a run-off, the sitting president appears to have little to fear. In a hypothetical second round between the two front-runners, 91% of respondents said their minds were made up, and 60% of those said they preferred Mr Rouhani.
Defeat may be only a temporary setback for Mr Raisi. Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader, is thought to be grooming Mr Raisi as his successor. But that might be harder if Mr Raisi has been rejected by Iranian voters. (font. The Economist)

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