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Iran’s March Election

Welcome back for the winter quarter everyone!

In case it wasn’t already on your radar, Iran has a parliamentary election upcoming in March. The New York Times has an article posted that discusses some of the issues surrounding that election.

A likely boycott by Iran’s harshly silenced reformists and fears of election-related violence, combined with dire economic problems arising from Iran’s isolation over its suspect nuclear program, are creating new challenges for Iranian leaders as they face their first domestic legitimacy test since the disputed presidential election of 2009.

Obviously any election features competing ideas, and in Iran’s case it will be the reformists versus the conservatives. But the election will also face the challenge of achieving legitimacy, given the unexpected results (which suggesting tampering) in the 2009 presidential election. The linked article suggests that low participation from voters would imply declining legitimacy on the part of Ayatollah Khamenei and the religious hierarchy.

The article hints that the March election might mark the occasion in which massive, widespread, momentous protests begin anew in Iran. Or that they may be a prelude to major domestic upheaval or reform in the 2013 presidential election. I’m not optimistic that Iran has reached a revolutionary moment yet, but these types of things do tend to surprise people. Interestingly, the article also notes that there may be interest on the part of the Ayatollah to get rid of the position of president and have instead a prime minister, elected in a more traditional parliamentary system fashion.

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