Reformists Confident of Rouhani Reelection

Reformists Confident of Rouhani ReelectionReformists Confident of Rouhani Reelection

Reformists are confident President Hassan Rouhani will be reelected in the upcoming election next year, a former reformist lawmaker said.

“Polls have shown that Rouhani is more popular than any other potential candidate and we have no doubt that he will win the vote,” Ali Shakourirad also said in an interview with ISNA on Saturday.

Moderate Rouhani championed the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, which scaled down Tehran’s nuclear program in return for easing international sanctions.

Shakourirad hoped that he could capitalize on the sanctions-free situation to revitalize the domestic economy by opening up to international investors.

His reform plans, however, have been complicated by a combination of remaining US trade restrictions, anti-deal moves by the US Congress and resistance from his conservative rivals who fear the opening could be exploited by the West to push its subversive plans.

Rouhani’s limited success in meeting popular expectations has raised skepticism among sections of his reformist supporters as to whether he deserves to represent them in the next presidential poll set for May 19.

“Despite the plight and hardship afflicting the people, they realize that their persistent problems have little to do with [the performance of] Rouhani and his government,” Shakourirad said.

“The problems are either part of the legacy of the previous administration or the result of current pressure on the government,” he said. A coalition of moderates and reformists made stunning gains in the parliamentary elections earlier this year.

They swept all the 30 seats designated for the capital Tehran, the most influential constituency, robbing conservatives of their three-term grip over the 290-member assembly.

  Fundamental Differences  

“Rouhani’s tenure coincided with that of the previous parliament that had fundamental differences with the government,” the ex-lawmaker said,

“A government that is under severe pressure from the parliament, besides an economic downturn, will not be able to employ qualified people and implement its plans. It will be constantly besieged by the problems posed [by the parliament],” he said.

Shakourirad noted that the people sided with the government in the recent Majlis vote showdown to deliver a message that they prefer a parliament that works side by side with the government.

“Rouhani’s decision to pick his Cabinet members was affected by the previous uncooperative Majlis, so a Cabinet reshuffle as part of a renewed push for reforms could boost his popularity ahead of the next year’s vote,” he said.