Expert Comment

First Presidential debate: Much ado about nothing.


The first three hours presidential debate on April 28th revolved around social and cultural topics. It was organized on 12 questions, distributed among the six candidates –Hassan Rohani, Mohamad Baqer Qalibaf, Ibrahim Raisi, Eshaq Jahangiri, Mostafa Mirsalim y Mostafa Hashemi Taba–, with a fixed time for answers and comments; it did not clarify any of the candidates’ programs regarding these aspects, but it did draw up which the main discussion axis is going to be along the campaign: Rohani, Jahangiri and Hashemi Taba on one side, Qalibaf, Raisi and Mirsalim on the other.

From one surprise to another


We have become accustomed to major surprises during Iranian presidential elections. While the 1997 and 2005 elections were won by the least-expected candidates (Mohamed Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), and the 2009 elections ended in the biggest political crisis the republic has undergone in its thirty year history, the 2013 elections will be remembered for the rejection of Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar, the two most awkward candidates for the Leader, Ali Khamenei.