Saturday, June 13, 2009

Watching Iran's elections

The opposition is complaining that the government shut down their Web sites, newspapers, and cell phone service before the election, and are claiming voter fraud. Last night, a friend and I were talking about the elections, and I pointed out that relatively moderate candidates who get excellent press in the West are not always domestically popular. He was saying that he thinks Moussavi was far ahead in voter polls pre-election. I have to run out the door, but if this is indeed true, it's hugely suspect that he would then turn around and get only 33% of the vote.

So suspect (just to turn everything on its head) that I wonder: if the government rigged the election, wouldn't it have done a better job than that? Wouldn't it be more believeable to declare no one had a majority in this election and give victory to Ahmadinejad in a run off ?

The present turn out 60% Ahmadinejad/33% Moussavi lead to one of 2 conclusions: either the conservatives are actually much more popular than we believe, or the Iranian government is much more out of touch with its people than it believes. If its leaders thought they could get away with rigging an election in such a lopsided way and there's a lot of public outrage...this could be very interesting.

Just a question - a lot of countries accept outside electoral monitors. I think it's unlikely Iran does, but was there any organization monitoring the vote?

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