10 things you need to know about Iran’s 2013 elections

Published June 13th, 2013 - 12:55 GMT

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Ahmadinejad Mahmoud
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Image 1 of 10: Goodbye Ahmadinejad - Mahmoud has been the beardy face of Iran for 8 years but he can’t run again under Iranian law. He leaves office with the country politically isolated and economically stagnating, so whoever comes next has a lot on his plate.

Iran 2013 elections candidates
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Image 1 of 10: Nuts and bolts: A grand total of 686 candidates registered for the elections but that number was whittled down to just 8 men by the hardline Guardian Council. Unsurprisingly no women made the cut. For the remaining men, their challenge is to secure at least 50% of the vote, otherwise there will be a run-off.

Esfandiar Mashaie Ahmadinejad
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Image 1 of 10: Whipping up a frenzy: When the incumbent accompanied Esfandiar Mashaie to register his candidacy, he hoped that he was standing alongside the Republic’s next President. Things didn’t quite turn out as expected, as Mashaie was axed by the Guardian Council. For his part Ahmadinejad could be facing 74 lashes for interfering in the election.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
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Image 1 of 10: Surprise omission: Former Preisdent Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was barred from running. Favored in reformist circles, his omission from the final list provoked outrage within Iran and the international community. Even the daughter of founding Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini implored the current Supreme Leader to let the ex-President run but to no avail.

Saeed Jalili
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Image 1 of 10: Nuclear bruiser: Saeed Jalili’s outspoken manner has certainly spiced up the campaign, particularly the televised debates but it looks like the the nuclear negotiator will live to regret his abrasive style. At one stage he was an early favorite in the conservative camp but he’s now languishing on 5%

Hassan Rouhani
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Image 1 of 10: Dark horse: Hassan Rouhani has come from nowhere to top the opinion polls going into election day. As the campaigns began, he was on a mere 3% but with the reformist camp behind him, he’s emerged as the new favorite. According to an Aftab field poll on June 10, the moderate-leaning candidate is on a weighty 27.2% of the popular vote

graffiti iran ayatollah khomeini
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Image 1 of 10: You’re barred! Not everyone gets to take part in this year’s election. Among the unlcuky ones are social democrat group National Front of Iran who lost power in a the 1953 coup, as well as the monarchy-favoring Constitutionalist Party of Iran.

Mohammad Ghalibaf
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Image 1 of 10: Conservative darling- Conservative Mohammad Ghalibaf has held a lead at the head of the conservative pack, polling consistently above 20%, although he’s been overtaken by Rouhani overall. A popular mayor of Tehran since then, he previously served as the Chief of National Police from 1999 - 2005.

Mousavi Karroubi
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Image 1 of 10: Green revolution: Twitter and political activism meshed for the first time as Iranians contested the 2009 result and violence engulfed the streets of Tehran. The Green reformist movement emerged from the embers, but its figureheads, Mousavi and Karroubi, were promptly placed under house arrest where they’ve remained ever since.

Mohamed Reza Aref
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Image 1 of 10: Funny slogans: You can’t expect to win an election without a clear message. That’s probably why Mohamed Reza Aref fell by the wayside. His “Livelihoods, decent and honest life, dignity and rationality” is quite the mouthful. Our favorite is Mohsen Rezaie’s “Say hello to life.” Simple and concise, could it propel him to victory?

After weeks of debates, drama and outrage, the Islamic Republic is finally going to the polls.

Whilst reformists may be disillusioned at the lack of options, the buzz surrounding Hassan Rouhani is palpable in the streets of Tehran. The cleric’s closely aligned with the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and leads the polls going into election day.

At the opposite end of the political spectrum, the conservatives have a number of candidates to choose from. At this stage, however, they are yet to unite behind a single name, which could lead to a split in the vote.

After the disputed result in 2009 and the bloody aftermath, Iran has strictly limited access to foreign media applying to cover the 2013 polls. With reformists already disheartened at the conservative-dominated list of candidates, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards will have plenty of tear gas at the ready, should a controversial result emerge.

Whatever happens, the man chosen to guide Iran through the next four years will be challenged with uniting the population and improving the country’s standing internationally. In the face of widespread hostility over the country’s nuclear program, that will be no easy task.

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