On Saturday, the cleric Hassan Rouhani — a long-time senior official in the Islamic Republic, former lead nuclear negotiator, and ally of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani — was elected President with a first-round majority.
The development was a surprise to us. We expected Rouhani, with a surge in his campaign and the establishment of a moderate-reformist alliance in the last week, to make the run-off with Tehran Major Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf. We did not expect, even as signals rose during Friday’s vote, that he would leave Qalibaf and four other contenders far behind — let alone cross the 50% threshold for victory.
Why did the surprise — a slap in the face to many within the regime, including the Supreme Leader, from many Iranians — occur? And what difference will a Rouhani Presidency make?
We will have analyses throughout the day, as we cover the reaction to Rouhani’s victory.
Rouhani Victory: An Immediate Reaction
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Robert Tait profiles Hassan Rouhani and features analysis from EA:
“Rouhani is not a reformist but his coalition with them had an impact. The key thing was once [former Presidents] Rafsanjani and Khatami endorsed Rouhani, most reformists realised that this was their one chance to change the system and that a boycott was not going to work.”….
Whether [Rouhani] goes as far as saying they should release [detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein] Mousavi and [Mehdi] Karroubi will be a real test of how far he can go within the system,” said Mr Lucas.
He now has to negotiate over political power within the system. There are going to be questions about the role of Parliament and who gets to manage the economy.
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