Iranian voters began to vote for a new president at 7 a.m. local time on June 18th to determine the country’s basic course for the next few years. Polls show that Lacey, the conservative clergyman who leads the country’s judicial system, is the most popular candidate. “After the moderate Rouhani is re-elected for two terms, this country is destined to turn to be more radical,” the Italian news agency Asia News commented on the 18th. And Lacey’s victory in the election may put the United States and the European Union in a “difficult position,” because the Iranian nuclear agreement that U.S. President Biden has vowed to complete may have to be signed with an Iranian president who has been sanctioned by the United States and Europe for “violating human rights.” The voting on the 18th showed that the Iranian people’s enthusiasm for political participation has obviously diminished. “Almost no one expects this vote to alleviate the national crisis.” However, the rise of hard-line candidates has clearly slapped the effect of Western sanctions. “Iran has begun to turn towards conservatism”, “Russia Today” TV said on the 18th that after Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, “Iranians are convinced that they cannot communicate with the West in friendly language.” .
Hardliners are “very likely” to win
According to Iran’s Tehran Times on the 18th, Iran’s 13th presidential election began at 7 am local time on the 18th (Friday) and will last until midnight. More than 66,000 polling stations opened their doors to citizens. If necessary, the polling station can be extended to close at 2 am on the 19th. There are 4 candidates competing for the presidency, namely, Director of Justice Lacey, former Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, Rezai, First Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Hashmi, and Former President of the Central Bank of Iran, Hemat, among the top 3 Everyone belongs to conservatives, and Hematy is the only reformist candidate. The candidate who gets more than 50% of the votes in the first round will be elected president. If no one passes the first round, the two candidates with the most votes will enter the second round of duel.
Public opinion generally believes that Lacey’s chance of winning with more than 50% of the votes in the first round is “very high”, and the moderate candidate Hemati did not receive the same support as the outgoing President Rouhani. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) quoted observers on the 18th as saying that the other candidates were just “foilers” and “platforms” for Lacey’s election.
The 60-year-old Lacey entered the Iranian justice system in 1980, served as Iran’s Attorney General in 2014, and served as Iran’s Director of Justice in 2019. In recent years, the anti-corruption campaign he has led has gained popularity. At the same time, Lacey is a high-ranking Ayatollah among the priests. There have been rumors that Lacey may be the successor of the Supreme Leader Khamenei. This election may fill the gap in his ruling experience. He has also served as the chairman of the Mashhad Al-Quds Foundation, which is involved in many important industries in Iran, such as oil and communications, and has an important influence in the economic field. In 2017, Lacey participated in the presidential election, but lost to Rouhani.
“Washington Post” quoted Middle East analyst Soltvet on the 18th as saying that this election will be the “least competitive” in the history of the Islamic Republic, which will benefit the “theocracy and hardline line of Iran’s political pedigree.” “Candidates. The Italian news agency Asia News stated that the victory of Lacey, the “representative of ultra-conservatives” and “a loyal supporter of Khamenei”, was taken for granted.
Some analysts also believe that Lacey’s victory still has “risks”. The Israeli “Ha’aretz” stated on the 18th that if Lacey was not far ahead of his main opponent Hematy in the first round of voting, then more voters may vote in the second round of voting, hoping Hematy Win. The former governor of the Iranian Central Bank criticized the Revolutionary Guards’ control of Iran’s economy in a television debate. He promised to appoint five women to his cabinet. He supported the Iran nuclear agreement and said that Iran’s economic difficulties stem from “world isolation.” “.
“For him, please vote”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei told reporters after voting in the capital Tehran on the 18th that Iran is one of the few countries in the world whose elections can attract international attention: “If circumstances permit, we will make friends all over the world happy and our enemies. Frustrated.”
According to the “Washington Post” report on the 18th, Lacey voted in a mosque in southern Tehran on the 18th. He wore a black hat to show that he was related to the Prophet Muhammad. He asked “everyone, lovely young people, Iranian men and women who speak any accent or language, people from any region and any political opinion” to vote.
CNN stated on the 18th that in Iran, there are long lines outside polling stations, mostly conservative voters. Many people are holding a portrait of Soleimani, the commander of the “Quds Brigade” under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He was killed in Baghdad by the order of former US President Trump last year.
However, the noisy large-scale gatherings of the past election season did not appear a few days before the vote. The government-related polling agency estimated that the voter turnout on the 18th was only 42%, which would be the lowest level since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. “Washington Post” stated that this was because the Iranian Constitution Guardianship Council disqualified hundreds of candidates, including former President Ahmadinejad and former Speaker Larijani. The election is no longer suspenseful. The New York Times said on the 18th that in the past, during presidential elections, the streets in downtown Tehran were usually filled with photos of candidates, and their election slogans swayed under buildings and street lights. But this time, there was no candidate’s name on the largest election banner, only a simple message: vote on Friday. The most common propaganda poster is Soleimani’s head, with the text: “For him, please vote”.
Razawi, a 40-year-old restaurant manager in Tehran, told the New York Times on the 18th that no one of his employees intends to vote, “For ordinary people, it makes no difference whether they are conservatives or reformers. Take a look. The reformists have been in power for 8 years, and this is the case now.” The New York Times said that Rouhani, regarded as a moderate, was elected president “amidst a wave of optimism.” He promised social freedom, economic improvement, and improved relations with the world. Relationship, but he will step down without fulfilling his promise.
According to the Associated Press, as of the afternoon of the 18th local time, the voter turnout seems to be much lower than the 2017 Iranian presidential election. “The poor economic situation and the months-long new crown pneumonia epidemic have suppressed election campaigns and encouraged voters. Indifference”.
Whoever comes to power must save the economy
“Why do the Iranian people fall into high oil prices?
Why do they line up to buy eggs and chicken? “Some people who pin their hopes on Lacey said that after witnessing the collapse of the national currency under Rouhani’s rule, their savings have evaporated. They are eager for their destiny to change. Some people say they will Vote for Lacey, known for its anti-corruption campaign, to protest Rouhani’s failure. Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review said on the 18th that US-led sanctions have left Iran’s economy traumatized. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) According to data, the country’s inflation rate last year was 36.5% and will rise to around 39% this year. Although the IMF predicts that the Iranian economy will “moderate recovery”, Iranians are still shocked by the soaring prices of daily necessities.
The BBC said that Lacey promised to deal with the despair of the people caused by economic difficulties when he was running for the election. Qatar Al Jazeera said that if Lacey wins, it will confirm the political decline of Rouhani and other pragmatic politicians. But all presidential candidates will support negotiations on an Iranian nuclear agreement to get rid of sanctions, because their political fate depends on whether they can cope with worsening economic difficulties.
The Associated Press said on the 18th that if Lacey is elected, he will firmly let hardliners control the Iranian government. At the same time, Lacey will become the first Iranian president to be sanctioned by the United States before taking office for participating in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988. The European Union will also treat him for his “human rights violations” in Iran’s national anti-government protests in 2019. Sanctions were imposed.
“Russia Today” television said on the 18th that the conservative views of Iranian society are becoming more and more intense, because during the tenure of moderate President Rouhani, the United States “trampled the rules of the game”, which is why Lacey gained social support. Saren, an expert from the Middle East National Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the “Caucasus Herald” on the 18th that if Lacey wins, it will mean that all Iranian government departments will be under the control of radical conservatives. In terms of foreign policy, Iran may increase its confrontation with the United States and Israel, and the activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and armed groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and other places may further strengthen along the entire “axis of resistance”, which “may give rise to the situation in the Middle East. Cause more tension”.