Khamenei, whose power has been eroded following the 2009 uprising, is now facing several difficulties in the implement ion of his election engineering.
So far, the regime has gone through the following election engineering phases:
1) Progress Coalition of 2+1: In early February 2013, Khamenei formed a coalition of three conservative factions within his faction; Ali Akbar Velayati from traditional right-wing; Bagher Ghalibaf from a faction close to the revolutionary guards; and Gholamali Hadad Adel from the conservatives close to Persistence Front and the government. This coalition announced that it would introduce only one final candidate and that the other candidates would be in his government, and asked other conservatives to join the coalition.
2) Traditional right conservatives did not accept this coalition and introduced the broader coalition of a conservative faction with 5 candidates. This coalition consisted of two mullahs, Hassan Abu-Torabi and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, on behalf of Society of Combatant Clergy and Society of Seminaries, and Manouchehr Motaki, Yayha Al-Eshaq and Mohammad Reza Bahonar on behalf of other traditional right-wing groups.
The Combatant Clergy and the Society of Seminaries introduced Hassan Abu-Torabi as a candidate, who all candidates accepted except Manouchehr Motaki. Motaki himself registered separately for candidacy.
3) Mullah Mesbah Yazdi and the Persistence Front chose Kamran Bagheri Lankarani as candidate. After Saeed Jalili registered for the presidential election, Mesbah Yazi refused to dismiss Bagheri Lankarani in
favor of Jalili and the Persistence Front was divided over Bagheri Lankarani and Saeed Jalili.
4) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forcefully backed the candidacy of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei and sent several signals to Khamenei that if his candidate was rejected he would create fresh problems during the election.
5) Khamenei tried to force Rafsanjani and Mohamad Khatami not to stand in the presidential election by using his cronies to threaten them, but Rafsanjani registered at the last minute. Thus Khamenei was unsuccessful in unifying his faction around the 2+1 coalition and preventing Rafsanjani’s candidacy. The problem of Ahmadinejad who accompanied Rahim Mashaei in his registration was still being dealt with by Khamenei.
Election engineering via the Guardian Council
This time Khamenei decided to perform the 2013 election engineering via Guardian Council. The disqualification of Rahim Mashaei was expected by all regime groups and the question was what Ahmadinejad would do after Mashaei was disqualified.
But the disqualification of Rafsanjani, who propelled Khamenei to the position of supreme leader and was appointed in March 2013 by Khamenei as the head of Expediency Council, was unexpected.
In addition, the disqualification of Manouchehr Motaki, former foreign minister, Ali Falahian, former intelligence minister, mullah Hassan Abou-Torabi Fard, deputy speaker of the parliament and elected candidate of the Society of Combatant Clergy and Society of Seminaries, and Lankarani, whom Mesbah Yazdi described as fittest candidate, was also unexpected. But Khamenei had no choice. By doing so he:
1) Removed the threat of Rafsanjani as a president that would force him to drink the ‘poison.’
2) By disqualifying Lankarani, he prevented the rift in in Persistence Front and confrontation with Mesbah Yazdi and Mahdavi Kani, and forced Mesbah Yazadi to support Saeed Jalili.
3) By disqualifying mullah Hassan Abu-Torabi, the candidate of the Society of Combatant Clergy and Society of Seminaries, he forced these two societies to support the candidate of the 2+1 coalition or Saeed Jalili, (these two groups did introduce any other candidate after the disqualification of mullah Abu-Torabi).
4) By disqualifying Manouchehr Motaki, the followers of the Imam and Leader front, which consists of 14 traditional right wing groups, supported the candidacy of Ali Akbar Velayati.