Iran’s Young Guard

When Iranians go to the polls on June 12 to elect their president, a key determinant of voting behavior is likely to be generational, with 46% of the electorate under the age of 30. These voters are more educated, more urbanized, and more internationally oriented than previous generations – not at all the profile of the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's supporters.

TEHRAN – Iranians will go to the polls on June 12 to elect a new president. While some argue that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election is a foregone conclusion, the outcome is, in fact, not at all clear.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly said in public settings that he will not declare his preference among the candidates. Indeed, in Mashad on March 21, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “There were some rumors that I support a special candidate for the presidential elections. But I have one vote, and I would not determine a certain candidate because the people themselves should choose their candidates based on their own knowledge.”

So how will the Iranian people weigh their votes? To answer, one needs to understand the composition of the Iranian electorate. With the voting age set at just 16 years, Iran has roughly 48 million eligible voters. Turnout averages 60-65% in presidential elections, implying that around 29 million votes are likely to be cast.

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