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15 June 2024

Finding successor to Raisi will be difficult


Published: 21:15, 22 May 2024

Finding successor to Raisi will be difficult

Photo: Collected 

Finding replacement for late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on a short notice could be difficult but not impossible as Iran's establishment is interested in preserving continuity, said international relations analyst Riccardo Alcaro.

On Sunday (19 May), Raisi, along with a delegation involving Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other government officials, died in a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran. The delegation was on its way back from a visit to Azerbaijan. Iranian authorities said the helicopter crash-landed in a remote mountainous region due to poor weather conditions and thick fog.

"Finding a replacement may not be easy, especially given the short time before the next presidential election, but not impossible. The ultraconservatives in power – both clerics and the hard-liners from the security apparatus – have an interest in ensuring continuity," Alcaro, the research coordinator and head of the Global Actors Program of the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome, said.

The expert noted that Raisi's importance lied in him being a potential compromise candidate to succeed Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, as he was ideologically loyal to the Islamic Republic, which pleased Khamenei and the clerics, as well as in favor of the assertive course of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"The personality of the next president matters, so let's see whether it'll be someone as pliable as Raisi or someone with a stronger character," Alcaro concluded.

Under the Iranian constitution, an early presidential election must be held within 50 days after the incumbent president is pronounced dead or incapacitated, and his powers are transferred to the first vice president.