Good riddance to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The election might just bring something better
IN THIS election, more than 700 aspiring candidates have been barred from competing by a council of crusty clerics and lawyers. They are said to have failed to live up to the required standard of revolutionary and religious zeal, leaving just eight runners deemed worthy of the mantle being relinquished by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That may not seem like much of a choice to citizens of normal democracies. But in Iran it is the best on offer.
The first round of the presidential election takes place on June 14th, with a run-off a week later if no one gets a majority. The candidates, pictured before a television debate, are a glum bunch, with Saeed Jalili the apparent favourite of the hardliners and the most moderate being another former nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani. There is the added twist that the final say in the gravest matters of state, including the nuclear programme, is the preserve of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has fallen out badly with Mr Ahmadinejad in the past few years. All the same, the election is a meaningful, even menacing, event—and one whose outcome, on past experience, cannot be predicted (see article).