October 12, 2016


Five reasons Rouhani will be president for another term (Ali Omidi, October 11, 2016, Al Monitor)

[T]he incumbent is likely to secure a second term in office for five main reasons.

First, the Principlists lack a charismatic face. The reality is that if Ahmadinejad had competed in the May 2017 election, the poll would have become rather exciting while at the same time extremely polarizing. His candidacy would have overshadowed that of any other Principlist candidate. As such, the Principlist movement has effectively lost its ace. At present, there is simply no figure in the Principlist camp that can be compared to Ahmadinejad in terms of charisma. That is one reason why prominent Tehran University professor Sadegh Zibakalam has stated that under the current conditions, "Even with his hands and feet tied, Rouhani will win votes in the May 2017 elections."

Second, while the Rouhani administration's economic performance has not been eye-catching, it has managed to save the country from economic collapse. Indeed, Rouhani has played the role of a physician who is unable to heal a patient but able to prevent the patient's condition from getting worse. The Islamic Parliament Research Center has estimated economic growth of 6.6% in the current Iranian calendar year (ending March 20, 2017), driven by the rebounding oil sector. This is while the economy retracted by 6.8% in the Iranian year 1391 (which began on March 20, 2012) and has gradually returned to growth in the three years since. Though Iran's economic growth is mainly influenced by exogenous factors, to the Iranian public, this rebound is seen as a positive score in the Rouhani administration's report card.

Third, the supreme leader is not opposed to Rouhani's re-election. [...]

The last and most important factor is the consensus among Reformists on Rouhani. The Reformist camp neither can nor wants to sideline the incumbent president. In their view, Rouhani's performance has been acceptable, while the political and economic shortcomings of his administration are due to factors outside the government's control. As such, the Reformists believe that they should stand behind the Rouhani administration with all their might in order to advance their own agenda under his cover. 

Posted by at October 12, 2016 7:36 PM


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