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Europe

European Press Review: A Triumph of Theocracy?

On Friday, many European editorials focused on the parliamentary elections in Iran.

What is going to happen after the elections, wondered the Italian La Repubblica. The paper said it appears the Iranians have not asked themselves that question. “With the mullahs, things do not change”, the paper quoted Iranians as saying, and added that most Iranians are disappointed that the reforms President Khatami promised never materialized.

The Financial Times Deutschland predicted Iran’s fundamentalists would emerge as electoral victors, but said the fundamentalists won't be able to relish the victory for long. The economic problems are huge, the Hamburg-based paper pointed out, and whoever sits in Iran’s parliament will be under enormous pressure to improve living conditions for a rapidly growing population. The paper is convinced that at this point, the conservatives still profit from the people’s crippling resignation.

Italy’s Il Messaggero agreed with that assessment, saying that the theocracy will again triumph. But what will happen after the elections, the paper asked -- will the reformists lose their strength, will there be a more radical confrontation with the Islamic regime? And, the paper wondered, on how the West will react to this farce of an election?

Iran’s reform movement, the French Liberation observed, has gotten caught up in the disappointment of its supporters and the Iranian peoples’ suffocating indifference. The paper said moderate Islamism, symbolized by President Khatami, has proven to be too moderate to win the fight against the conservatives. It remains to be seen, the paper concluded, what the conservatives would make of what looks like a certain victory, adding that they seem to be determined to reinstate a harsh religious dictatorship.