1240 GMT December 16, 2019
In the current Persian New Year, which began on March 21, all eyes have been focused on the presidential elections slated for May 19.
The election will revolve around economic topics. In other words, these topics will dominate the conversation in the electoral campaigns.
Rivals of President Hassan Rouhani, who is expected to run for a second term, will spare no effort to highlight what they call the incumbent government’s inefficiencies.
Once the electoral campaigns begin, conservatives will target the Rouhani government with fierce criticisms, the most important of which pertain to recession and unemployment.
During its four-year term, the government has had achievements and flaws.
The administration’s performance in tackling recession and unemployment has not been satisfactory. However, it has managed to curb rampant inflation which climbed to over forty percent under the government of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-13).
According to official figures, the Rouhani government has managed to record a single-digit inflation rate after 25 years.
The incumbent administration has also reversed the negative economic growth recorded under Ahmadinejad. Iran’s economy has grown beyond expectations since Rouhani assumed office in August 2013.
The foreign exchange market has also witnessed stability over the past four years. The Iranian currency, the rial, lost its value by about 400 percent in the last two years of the former president’s tenure. However, the forex market has undergone minor fluctuations under the Rouhani government.
Rouhani’s opponents will not focus on his achievements; they will rather explore ways to highlight weaknesses in his administration.
Hence, Rouhani should shed light on the reasons that have led to unemployment and recession. He should make it clear that without attracting investments, efforts aimed at creating jobs and tackling recession will remain futile. The president should elaborate on factors which hinder efforts to lure investors.
If Rouhani focuses on the realities in the society his votes will increase in the upcoming elections. This will also boost public trust toward his government.