Hardliners and reformers are competing for Iran’s electorate Friday when Iranians vote for a new parliament. They will also vote for new members of the Assembly of Experts, the clerical body that appoints the country’s all-powerful theologian, the Supreme Leader.
President Hassan Rouhani ushered in a new era in 2013 when fairly moderate ministers gained key cabinet positions even while conservatives dominated parliament. However, he faces a difficult election. So far the signs of the economic upswing, promised after the signing of a deal in July that ended Western sanctions in exchange for Iran ending its nuclear program, have been few and far between.
Iran’s return to the world market promises German companies golden business opportunities. Managers and investors are delighted and Payam Afzali, a Tehran-based investment banker is already celebrating, as there is a “huge need for investment” with great potential in consumer sectors.
While ten years of isolation and sanctions were tough, Iranians are not without economic clout. This vast, 80 million-strong market has a per capita income of around $17,000 (€15,440), making Iran like Turkey. While the reformers do not expect to win the elections outright, a large voter turnout will prove whether their policies are popular.