Monday, June 08, 2009

Iran Election Notes

Newsweek reports on a secret poll conducted by Iran's government which shows a first-round victory for Mousavi.

Last night's debate featured Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. As described by Farhod Family, both candidates spent their time attacking Ahmadinejad, especially on economics. Family also again noted the strong public interest:
"As the debates wrap up tonight, public interest has soared. Many reports are predicting a record breaking turnout. The debates have stirred up plenty of interest in the past week, with people constantly taking to the streets every night, since the first debate. Last night was no different from previous ones. The rain was coming down stronger and stronger, but it did not stop people from coming out, and showing support for their candidate.

"I walked down Vali-asr again, to meet up with some of the crew, as they were filming out in the streets. I was getting increasingly drenched, with every step I took. The people around me were mostly supporters of the two candidates who took part in the evening's debate, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mir Hossein Moussavi. People were not going to let the weather dampen their moods, and kept to the streets, having a good time, into the wee hours of the morning...

"Crowds for both the president and Mir Hossein Moussavi have been in out in strong numbers. Both are holding various rallies that are being very well attended, as time ticks away, until Election Day. This has been arguably the most popular, presidential race the Islamic Republic has seen. The outpour of people in the streets supporting their respective candidates has been simply amazing. One of the main goals of the election is getting the vote out. This time around, it looks like that will have been greatly accomplished, with participation expected to be at record levels. The race has become an exciting drama with dirty laundry being aired out on live television, thanks to the debates. The country is very much caught up in the excitement, not knowing what to expect next."

Such public enthusiasm should serve as a corrective for those who confuse Iran's political system with that of, say, Egypt.

Mahmood Ahmadinejad has been trying to play the corruption card, but others are now turning it against him with information on how the incumbent's family has profited from his time in office.

RFE-RL looks at the campaign among Iran's ethnic minorities, who are in reality about half the population. Ahmadinejad, the only Persian candidate, has apparently learned Azeri.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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