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  1. Majlis Elections, Preliminary Game for Presidency. By: Isa Saharkhiz. September 30, 2007ShareYesterday at 11:31pmAs Majlis [“Parliament”] elections are drawing closer, it is becoming more and more clear that the country’s two main political factions regard the matter as a two stage game, in which Majlis elections serve as the semifinal match before the presidential election.Initially, hardliner deputies in the Majlis attempted to cheat by scheduling the Majlis and presidential elections on the same date. Despite the implicit approval of the referee, they failed to achieve this goal due to the heavy pressure of public opinion. Now, they are awaiting the final minutes of the game to see how their players, stationed in election stations and oversight centers, and acting as side referees, dismiss the opponent’s goals on by declaring offside or some other violation.What has attracted the attention of observers and analysts is the conscious decision of both sides to rest their main players ahead of the semifinal game in order to keep them fresh for the final match, the presidential election.On the reformist front, the presidential candidate of the progressive reformists, Mostafa Moeen, is the main absentee. He has shown, through his tired and repetitive complaints against supporting reformist parties, that he is not one for reentering the political scene. The other significant absentee of the game is Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is unlikely to run as a candidate because of the age restriction imposed in electoral law and, more importantly, his rejuvenated politico-religious position in the Assembly of Experts. He will probably attempt to keep his latest victory in the Assembly as his last competitive record. He will, however, attempt to help a select group of players by relaying his experience and information to them.There is an entirely different game being played out in the anti-reformist camp, among the hardliners. Other than Ghalibaf, who is seeing his chances diminish in front of his eyes because of his dismal performance as Tehran’s mayor, the camp’s main candidate, Ahmadinejad, has already lost the game. Aware of this fact, others are attempting to organize their team in the absence of the main player.Until now, we have seen presidents serve two consecutive terms. Ahmadinejad, however, is going to break the tradition under the heavy weight of public discontent and repeated failures. If he is lucky, he may be able to finish his four years in full. This situation has truly frightened Ahmadinejad’s supporters and collaborators. As such, it is highly unlikely that they decide to support him for another term. In reality, the best news for them would be for Ahmadinejad to complete the remaining two years of his term and not be toppled by domestic discontent or international political and financial pressure, or a combination of the two. In such circumstances, another possibility is to sacrifice Ahmadinejad by removing him by issuing a decree or vote of no confidence, in a bid to avoid further damage to the reputation of the Islamic Republic.

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