On the road, Iran's Khamenei sets stage for a less democratic future
During a nine-day provincial tour, Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei pushed for voter participation in upcoming elections, but also suggested that a directly elected president might become a thing of the past.
It looked like business as usual when Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei began a nine-day tour of the western province of Kermanshah last week. But Ayatollah Khamenei appears to be setting the stage for political changes that will further shrivel the democratic aspect of the Islamic Republic.
Khamenei also seemed to be giving a get-out-the vote pep talk to Iranians in anticipation of parliamentary elections next March, and a presidential vote due in 2013.
"It's the people themselves who decide. They go to the polls, they make their choice; things are run by the people," Khamenei told a large crowd last Wednesday, as he ticked off reasons why Iran's Islamic system was superior and indestructible, according to a simultaneous English translation by state-run PressTV.
All problems, Khamenei said then, were solved because of this "participation, the faith of the people in the Islamic establishment, [their] steadfastness and their loyalty, [so that they] consider themselves the owners and governors of the country."
But by Sunday, those sacred principles appeared to be giving way to a less democratic future.
Khamenei – whose title is meant to confer the authority of God's interim representative on earth – suggested that the post of Iran's directly elected president might be abolished, to be replaced by a premier chosen by parliament.
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