Will Ahmadinejad's term be cut short? The Iranian parliament voted on Sunday to unite the presidential elections with the upcoming parliamentary ones, this according to the official Iranian news agency.
The proposal, which passed with a surprising 80 percent majority, may cut the term of sitting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
by 18 months.
The bill must still be ratified by the Iranian constitutional committee, which is headed by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad's arch-rival, a fact which many see as indicative that the bill will indeed be authorized.
Rafsanjani himself is considered one of the most powerful politicians in Iran and is currently running for a position in the Assembly of Experts, an 86-strong body of ayatollahs who monitor the Iranian Supreme Leader (a position currently held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei). The Assembly has the power to dismiss the Supreme Leader. Already existing tensions have heightened between Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani as the latter is pitted directly against Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor Masbah Yazdi who is also vying for a spot on the Assembly of Experts.
One of the reasons cited in the proposal for bringing the two elections together is cutting the costs brought on by a double election. Opponents to the bill claimed that cutting the president's term is unconstitutional and that parliament's term should be extended to meet the original date for the presidential election.