The New Iranian Presidency: A Game of Many Unknows Michel Makinsky, Politique étrangère, 3/2005, (Autumn).
The outcome of the Iranian presidential election has surprised many observers. Most analysts who wished for the victory of the State Expediency Council chairman Rafsandjani, simply forgot one thing: voters. In spite of obvious paramilitary, pasdarans and bassiji pressures, this is an unquestionable victory for the new conservatives. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has kept a low-profile campaign. Most importantly, however, he managed to gain the support of the poor, lower middle-class people who harbor strong resentment towards Rafsandjani and corrupt politicians, and who have been disappointed by the lack of interest from reformist parties in improving their day-to-day lives. This 'silent majority' simply wants jobs and decent wages. A new rift is becoming visible between rigid 'neocons' and 'pragmatists' led by Rafsandjani. Khatami's successor's ability and strategy remain open to debate. His ideological discourse may lead to internal constraints and uncomfortable dialogue with the European Union. In essence, Iran's future remains unpredictable.
Michel Makinsky educates on Iran and Islam at the École supérieure de Commerce et de Management of Poitiers (ESCEM), and is a Scientific Associate at the University of Liège.