Tomorrow 56 million Iranians are expected to go to the ballot box to vote in the 12th presidential election. At the end of a fierce electoral campaign, it is now clear it will be a duel between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and the challenger, Ebrahim Raisi. These two clerics, the former supported by reformists and technocrats and the latter by conservatives and ultraradicals, are the last two candidates still in the running after the other two prominent contenders, Jahangiri and Qalibaf, withdrew in favour of Rouhani and Raisi, respectively.
Presidential elections will take place on May 19 2017 in Iran. There are six official candidates who are running for the presidency in this round who have been pre-selected by the Council of Guardians from among 1653 candidates. This means that the Council of Guardians has approved that these six persons have all the requirements, foreseen through the Constitution, to eventually become the President of the Islamic Republic.
On May 19 Iran will hold its twelfth presidential election since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. All eyes are on the candidates, especially on the Rouhani-Raisi competition. However, there is another election process that is not under scrutiny and that will probably shape the future of the Islamic Republic. The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will turn 78 this year and, although succession to the Supreme Leader is a taboo topic in Iran since Khomeini’s heir apparent Ali Montazeri fell from grace, sooner or later the necessity will arise.