Politici e elezioni, Voto libero e di partecipare attivamente alla democrazia, Voto per il cambiamento, On line referendum
Mohammad Khatami

Let's hope Khatami wins back Iran's presidency

Mohammad Khatami 31%

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We were engrossed by the U.S. presidential election. For the Middle East, the outcome of this week's Israeli election could be consequential. Now comes another election of potentially great consequences for that region, and for the world. On June 12, Iran will elect its president. Campaigning has already begun.

Campaigning? In theocratic Iran? Democracy there? Surely you jest.

Actually, no.

Democracy in Iran is a peculiar beast, to be sure, with the theocrats at the top of the Iranian system disqualifying candidates, indicating preferences and potentially manipulating results.

Nonetheless, elections do happen. Candidates of different orientations compete. Millions vote, freely. Most of the fettering comes later, when a president tries to persuade parliament or is frustrated by the theocrats.

If you think the U.S. Constitution outlines a complicated political system, for something really complicated, take a look at Iran's.

The Iranian arrangement creates two parallel systems: one run by elected leaders, the other by religious leaders; the security services, foreign policy and, of course, theological issues are in the hands of the religious leaders. Since theology was, and is, at the heart of the Iranian “revolution,” religious edicts and interpretations can be thrown over wide areas of public policy.

Iran considers itself the centre of the Shia faith within the Islamic world. It also believes itself the modern-day heir of Persian civilization. Put these traditions together, and you have a people deeply proud of the past, convinced of the greatness of their country, and feeling put upon by outsiders who think of Iran as part of an “axis of evil” or a force of instability in the world.

Iran has been the largest beneficiary of George Bush's foreign policy. Gone is the hated Saddam Hussein in Iraq, replaced by a Shia-led government. The failure of any progress. toward a Palestinian-Israeli agreement has strengthened Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, both allies of Iran.



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