Tag Archives: Qalibaf

Estimates for the upcoming 2013 Iran Presidential elections

11 Jun

Iranian politics is notoriously difficult to predict. This is especially true with regards to elections, which these days are increasingly managed by the regime, as we found out in 2009.

However, it is important to try and see where things are likely to go in the elections, based on one’s own perceptions, assumptions and reading of the regime.

If you get it right, then great. If you get it wrong, then afterwards at least you have a reference point to go back to to see where and how you went wrong. What assumptions you should have made but didn’t, who in the regime you should have listened to instead, and what clues you missed (among other things).

So here is how I believe (and assume) that things will turn out in the upcoming Iranian elections.

If a clear winner is determined in the first round, it is my estimate that Qalibaf has the biggest chance of winning. Reason? because between the conservatives when it comes to being a technocrat, he is seen as being the most competent. On top of that, and more importantly, he has good relations with Khamanei and parts of IRGC senior leadership.

If there is no clear winner in the first round and elections go into a second round,


Jalili is in the second round runoffs , he would win against any candidate. Reason? because Khamenei and the IRGC have decided that its more important for them to have a yes man. It would be difficult to convince the public that Jalili genuinely won  majority of votes in the 1st round (because he is unknown). So in order to shore up his legitimacy a second round is needed.

Or if:

– Qalibaf is in the run off and its not Jalili who he is running against, then Qalibaf would win. Reason? Khamenei and the IRGC believe that having a runoff is important to boost the legitimacy of the elections by making them look like a tight race. Letting Qalibaf win under such a scenario would enable them to strike two targets with one stone: giving them the already mentioned advantages of Qalibaf, plus more legitimacy for the elections process.

There is very little chance that Rowhani would win the elections (less than 10%). Reason? He views re: relations with West and need for compromise over the nuclear program to save Iran’s economy are out of line with that of the supreme leader and the IRGC.

The election’s dark horse: Mohsen Rezai. In my opinion, between all candidates, the one who could surprise us like Ahmadinejad did in 2005 elections is him. His combative style regarding the economy and its problems could have won him more support than we realize.

Now lets see where I have gotten it wrong, or right. Time will tell.

Tehran Mayor a Powerful Contender For Iran’s Presidency Read more

1 Jun

The powerful Revolutionary Guards Quds force commander has said that his vote will go to Tehran Mayor Qalibaf. This is just one example of his latest endorsements.
My latest article discusses why Qalibaf is a serious contender.

Is Ali Larijani about to join the presidential race? Iran 2013 presidential elections

18 Apr

Iran’s former foreign minister and 2013 presidential candidate Ali Akbar Velayati announced today that a 4th person could join the 3 member coalition of candidates to which he belongs for the upcoming presidential elections.

This coalition currently consists of Velayati, current Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and former Majles speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel. As I wrote in my latest piece for Al Monitor, I believe that for now Hadad Adel has the strongest chance of winning the elections.

The question is: who could this 4th person be?

Velayati said that a number of people have already asked to join the coalition. He did not say who and why they were rejected.

However he made this interesting statement:

وی با اشاره به شرایط ورود به ائتلاف سه‌گانه تصریح کرد: اصولگرایی و اعتقاد به مبانی جمهوری اسلامی هم در قول و هم در فعل در راس شرایط پیوستن به ائتلاف 1+2 است؛ همچنین ائتلاف سه گانه اصولگرایان تاکید ویژه‌ای بر حضور افرادی با کارنامه درخشان همراه با رضایت آحاد ملت در طول خدمت خود به نظام جمهوری اسلامی دارد و بنابراین حضور افراد ذی‌صلاح در ائتلاف سه‌گانه منتفی نیست.

Translation: He (Velayati) referred to the conditions for entry into the 3 member coalition as being a principalist, belief in the foundations of the Islamic republic both in promise and deed as being the most important. The 3 member coalition of principalist emphasizes presence of persons with a shining track record who have served the Islamic republic with the satisfaction of the people during their tenure. Therefore the presence of competent persons in the 3 member coalition of the principlaists camp is not ruled out.

There are a number of persons who belong to the principalist camp, however the one person who I think fits the qualifications described by Velayati the most is current speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani.

He is a well known member of the Principalist camp, has been part of the system for a long time, is well connected (his brother is head of the judiciary) while he himself has been increasing his grass root support by being a the speaker of the parliament.

As with many other things related to Iranian politics, only time will tell. But I think the 4th person could well be Ali Larijani.