Friday, June 12, 2009

Iranian Presidential Election Quickie

Iran's political system fascinates me; besides actually having a constitutionally enshrined "Supreme Leader", it combines democratic organs with tight controls in the hands of many unelected bodies. It appears to be an almost perfect dystopian entity, with competing policies, shadowy bodies, a "council of Guardians", and a separate military that is the personal arm of the Supreme Leader in the form of the Revolutionary Guards. A great setting for fiction, if ever there was one.

But Iran is also far more realistic and livable than that description gives it credit for. And despite the willingness of people to dismiss Iran as just another dictatorship, it is really too elaborate for that. Iran, though not a democracy, has profound democratic organs, and though those organs are constrained, they perform a valid function in society, and are not controlled so tightly as to make the future the direction of the country inevitable.

This is an elaborate introduction to a post on fivethirtyeight about the Iranian Presidential Election. The whole post is rather short and a good read. The best line is here:
In summary, the Iranian system is slowly maturing, with more a more competitive and multi-candidate system. The candidates are still restricted to the mainstream approved by the Guardian Council, but this is certainly no one-party system.

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