If this article is anything to go by Ahmedinejad and his uber-conservatives are going to have a bad day in Tehran. It appears that Ahmedinejad’s candidate for the Council of Experts is in sixth place while former president Rafsanjani and a leader of the Reformist coalition is leading the polls:
Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani is leading the polls of the Experts’ Assembly elections while the candidate linked to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in sixth place, several local news agencies reported on Saturday.
Some have even gone so far as to declare the election a defeat for Ahmedinejad:
Reformist activist and former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh told the Kar news agency that the Ahmadinejad camp had lost the elections. . . .
Of course, not all the ballots are in yet so we cannot be sure.
Election turnout was high for Iran, the article says 55% of eligible voters participated, noting this was a record, and also a surprise, especially because Iranians were voting “for two rather technical elections with no direct impact on political developments.”
More as it comes in.
Update: Centrist cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is running well ahead of his ultra-conservative rival Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi in elections for Iran’s Assembly of Experts, with half the votes counted, state television said.
And the semi-official MehrNews reports: The Interior Ministry announced winners in several constituencies for the 86-member Assembly of Experts. Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was leading the race in Tehran. thanks candy!
Update 2: This report says that about 30% of the Tehran voted. The article cited says this would be more than usual, three times as much as last time. But I find this hard to believe. Why? Because South Tehran is supposed to be one of Ahmedinejad’s strongholds, as it is very poor, especially the Rayy area. It’s hard to tell at this point, but what I am seeing from the official Iranian press (largely but not totally controlled or influence by Ahmedinejad’s faction) versus the international press is that this is looking like a defeat for Mahmoud. It just doesn’t look good, and it seems the domestic Iranian media is trying to keep a lid on how bad it might be.
If the clerics in Iran were as popular as they claim, there would be no need to filter candidates and every Iranian would be allowed to stand as a candidate and to choose who they want to vote for. This however is the biggest fear of the mullahs.
This very real objection aside, is there any legitimacy in Iran’s election process? The Iranians I met with certainly felt there was.
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