The Iranians nominate Friday, June 18 without much enthusiasm a new president on the occasion of an election which should consecrate the victory of the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raïssi.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei opened the ballot by voting next to his offices a few minutes after 7 a.m. local time (4.30 a.m. French time). Ayatollah Khamenei called on his compatriots to accomplish their ” duty “ civic ” the earlier “ possible, insisting on “Advantages on the international scene” which the country could derive according to him from a high participation.
After three weeks of a lackluster electoral campaign, amid general dissatisfaction with the serious economic crisis affecting Iran, the authorities have decided to extend the opening period of the polling stations, until ” at midnight (9:30 p.m. in Paris) with a possible extension until 2 a.m. on Saturday.
It is officially a question of allowing the greatest number, among the nearly 60 million Iranians of voting age, to go to the polls serenely while the country is hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The final results of the ballot are expected by midday on Saturday. According to the rare surveys available, abstention could reach an unprecedented level and exceed 57%.
Elect a “powerful president”
Faced with calls to boycott the ballot relayed on social networks, Mr. Khamenei has repeatedly called on his compatriots in recent months to participate in the mass ballot to elect a “Powerful president”.
The ultraconservative Ebrahim Raïssi, head of the judicial authority aged 60, is a favorite archival, for lack of competitors to his measure after the disqualification of his main political opponents. In May, the Council of Guardians of the Constitution, an unelected body responsible for overseeing the presidential election, authorized seven men to run, out of nearly 600 candidates. But there are only four left, after the withdrawal of three candidates on Wednesday, two of whom called to vote for Mr. Raïssi. The latter had obtained 38% of the votes four years ago.
He is opposed to a little-known deputy, Amirhossein Ghazizadeh-Hachémi, a former commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohsen Rézaï (who obtained less than 11% of the vote in 2013) and a technocrat, Abdolnasser Hemmati, ex -President of the Central Bank.
The president has limited prerogatives in Iran, where most of the power is in the hands of the Supreme Leader. The outgoing president, the moderate Hassan Rohani, cannot stand for re-election this year after two consecutive four-year terms. Its record is marred by the failure of its policy of openness after the denunciation by the United States in 2018 of the Iranian nuclear agreement concluded three years earlier in Vienna.
Discontent and distrust
The dissatisfaction and mistrust vis-à-vis the authorities are expressed more and more openly in the face of the serious economic and social crisis caused by the reinstatement of American sanctions following the United States’ exit from the Vienna agreement. In the winter of 2017-2018 and in November 2019, two waves of protest, part of the socio-economic demands of the popular classes, were violently repressed.
For the opposition in exile and the NGOs, Mr. Raïssi is the embodiment of repression and his name associated with the mass executions of left-wing prisoners in 1988, a tragedy in which he denies any participation.
The priority of the next president should be the recovery of the economy. On this point, all the candidates agree that this must necessarily involve the lifting of the American sanctions imposed under the Trump presidency, the subject of the negotiations underway in the Austrian capital to save the Vienna agreement by reintegrating the States there. -United.