March 9, 2008


Survey Says Iranians Favor Free Election Of Their Top Leader (Robin Wright, 3/09/08, Washington Post)

The power of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has long been at the heart of political debate in Iran, because the supreme leader can veto legislation, presidential actions, judicial decisions and candidates for office. Iran's top political position has basically become a lifetime job, even though a panel of 86 religious scholars elected every eight years has the right to dismiss him. Khamenei has held the job since 1989.

But now, almost nine out of 10 voters surveyed want the top political position to be accountable to voters, the poll found.

The survey shows limited interest in the current political choices for parliament, with about one-third of voters preferring neither reformists nor hard-line conservatives. Among those polled, only 8 percent favor conservatives, and 22 percent want to vote for reformers. One out of four voters surveyed in all 30 provinces said they did not know who they would vote for in the election on March 14.

Although more than 80 percent of those polled said they would vote, Iranians are not inspired by any of the candidates, the poll concluded.

Keeping the monarch but making it an elective post makes good republican sense.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 9, 2008 9:25 AM

The Ayatollah sees himself as the keeper of the Islamic flame. No way he is going to stand for a vote.

And why should anyone be surprised at the limited interest in the upcoming election? The Iranian people know that 'reform' means Rafsanjani, Khatami, Larijani, or some variation thereof. Those guys are part of the the gang. They've run the joint before, and nothing was better.

The voters will get inspired when somebody from outside the clique has a chance to run and win.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 9, 2008 11:00 PM

Republic flame. Iran will be Islamic regardless.

Posted by: oj at March 9, 2008 11:18 PM

Come now, you can't seriously believe Khameini (or Ruhollah before him) is more interested in preserving the idea of "Iran" as opposed to the idea of an "Islamic" state, in all its purported purity (and power)?

The radical Shi'ites attacked Mecca in 1979 and have been in low-grade conflict with Saudi Arabia ever since. Their first priority is to offer a combative Islam, an aggressive Islam, and the government of Iran is their vessel. They are not defending a Republic (no matter how loosely they define that term). They are re-living the 7th century, the rise of warrior Islam. The fact that they are acting like 20th century mobsters is swept under the rug, of course. They surely consider themselves purer than the Sunni scum who run Mecca. But, we see them and say 'birds of a feather....'

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 10, 2008 7:43 AM

Why would he care about Iran? He cares about the Islamic Republic. Not least because it is vital to the defense of Shi'ism against the Wahhabists.

Posted by: oj at March 10, 2008 11:43 AM