Issue Brief on “Iranian Presidential Candidates: The Final Six”

The Guardian Council in Iran cleared six candidates for the presidential elections 2017 from the 1,361 candidates that registered themselves for the presidential race. According to the Iranian constitution, the Council reserves the right to discretion regarding the reasons for cancelling or approving the bids of different candidates. By far, the most talked about disqualification was that of the headstrong former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who registered against the advice of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei. The religious leader had expressed his concerns about the severe polarization of the election in case of Ahmadinejad’s participation. However, polarization is still a major concern in the elections due to the identity and ‘religio-political’ affiliation of the candidates running this year.  With the registration of a widely known religious figure like Ebrahim Raisi who is revered immensely in the Iranian society, as well as by the higher leadership, the schism between the religious conservatives and moderates shall widen. Raisi’s advent in politics has also dimmed Rouhani’s inevitability to some extent as the former enjoys popular support from the public, as well as the supreme leadership of the country. To make more sense of the upcoming elections which will not only impact the domestic politics of Iran but also its regional and global standing, let us quickly glance at the ‘chosen’ ones:

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