Iranian President Suggests Popular Votes on Issues

Votes Seen Likely to Sideline Hardliners

In a move which could have huge implications in the Islamic Republic, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has suggested that he may call a series of referenda on issues of public policy.

“It will be good to, after 36 years, even for once, or even every 10 years if we implement this principle of the Constitution, and put important economic, social, and cultural issues to a direct referendum instead of to the Parliament,” Rouhani said.

Such referenda would benefit Rouhani greatly, as the indications are that the public is more strongly supportive of him on such issues than they are on the hardliners who have significant influence in parliament and other governing bodies.

Though the parliament could conceivably reject such direct votes, it would be hugely unpopular to do so, as it would indicate their unwillingness to support public opinion on the matter, an issue which would alienate them in future elections.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.