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Pluralism in Undemocratic Regimes: A Study on the Electoral Discours of the Two Main Candidates in Iran's 12th Presidential Election


Dr.Hamad Hamid Al Balushi

Departement of Political Sciences Faculty of social sciences

Kuwait University


Abstract
 
This study deals with the presidential election that was held in the Islamic Republic of Iran in May 2017 by analyzing the discourse used in the election campaigns of the two main candidates: Ibrahim Ra’isi and Hassan Rouhani. This study tries to answer the following questions: how can presidential elections in Iran be understood despite the fact that they are held in an undemocratic country? Are there any differences between issues raised by the candidates? Did they focus on the same issues but used different arguments? What are the main issues that were discussed by the campaigns? The study argues that the presidential election in Iran is competitive despite the undemocratic nature of the Iranian regime. It argues that in order to understand this phenomenon, the election should be studied through two angles: first, by analyzing the political context in which the election was held; and second, by placing the Iranian political regime within the framework of undemocratic regimes that allow limited pluralism in their systems through relying on democratic tools such as elections. By doing so, these regimes give citizens the chance of having limited political roles. This study relies on quantitative and qualitative analytical tools to analyze Ra’isi’s and Rouhani’s discourses.
Keywords: Iran, Presidential Elections, Undemocratic Regimes, Hassan Rouhani, Ibrahim Ra’isi.







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May 18, 2017

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