Reformists a Force in Iran’s Looming Presidential Election
Analysis by Farideh Farhi
11 May 09 | IPS
With the official registration period for candidates over on May 9, the race for Iran’s presidency is entering its final stretch.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 475 individuals, including 42 women, have registered for the Jun. 12 election, but no more that a handful will be cleared to run by the Islamic Republic’s Guardian Council. Still, the competition will be stiff with a run-off between the top two candidates likely on Jun. 19.
The race pits Iran’s conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, against the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and current secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaee, who is also a conservative, and two reformist candidates: former prime minister Mir Hossein Mussavi, and former parliamentary speaker – and the only cleric in the race – Mehdi Karrubi.
At this point, Mussavi is considered to be Ahmadinejad’s most serious challenger.
Initial expectations for this presidential race were different. Given the political weakness and lack of access to resources of the reformists, most observers believed that Ahmadinejad’s only real challenge would come from conservative forces, some of which have become increasingly unhappy with his expansionist economic policies and erratic management style. >>>