Setting Up 2013
Of particular note as regards the election law reform is that at least 100 members of the “political and religious elite” must confirm future presidential candidates and that the candidates cannot exceed 75 years of age. The latter change directly precludes former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from running for the June 2013 election. These changes in the election law also look like they might well be used to further snuff out any prospect of Ahmadinejad’s favored candidate clinching the presidential office. This is especially so, since it is the Guardian Council, half of which is appointed by the Supreme Leader, who determine those considered amongst the “political and religious elite.”Analysts believe Ahmadinejad wants to be succeeded by Rahim Mashaie, who briefly held one of the country's vice presidencies before his appointment was overturned by Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i. What's happening here is that more power is being concentrated in the strictly clerical arms of government under Grand Ayatollah Khamene'i's influence. It looks like Khamene'i may have been just using Ahmadinejad to squelch the reformists starting in 2005, a function he arguably did not perform very well given the brute force required to suppress the 2009 protests.