High Turnout Good Or Bad?

I speculated earlier that the reported high turnout in Iran might be good news for the reformists, or rather the anti-Ahmedinejad forces. While I was in Iran we sensed and heard a very real under-current of dislike for Ahmedinejad not just among students and young people, but working class folks as well.

As I have written elsewhere, they found Ahmendinejad to be far too arbitrary. In one case he up and unilaterally decided to do away with daylight savings time. In Iran this is a serious deal because they have to go back a recalculate prayer times for two or three years in advance. That’s something we don’t think about, but the call to prayer, or azan, is a big deal. And it is a costly endeavor to re-do and reprint calendars for the government and business.

Another example is the two extra days of Ramadan holiday he declared while we where there that really irritated the business class, but played to Ahmedinejad’s base, the lower-middle class devout Shi’a voters who fled Tehran for a happy four-day holiday in the provinces. Meanwhile the government shut down and nothing in the city got done. This is important because Iran’s weekend is on Thursday and Friday, everything is shut down. No mail. No government offices open. No banks. And then their work week begins on Saturday. But it’s a problem for business people because the rest of the world–like China–has a weekend similar to ours. It creates financial problems, among the more obvious, especially trade settlement on oil contracts and the like (if you’ve ever done international finance you’ll know what I am talking about. His actions basically cut out almost a full work week. Great for some, but if you are engaged in international trade or commerce of any kind you lost money.

Anyway, it looks like the MSM is getting into the game of tentative prediction, especially with this NYT/AP headline (by Nazila Fathi who is a reliable reporter in Iran): “Big Voter Turnout Seen in Iran, Giving Reformers a Boost“. The results should be interesting when they start trickling in.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Ahmedinejad is like GW in that he is a cowboy. He thinks of something, he has the power, he’ll change daylight savings time! Hey, why not!
    It’s the same kind of flexing of the ego as landing on the aircraft carrier with the banner, “Mission Accomplished.” It’s just part of a pattern the two share of thoughtless ego-flexing, although GW is now feeling more like he’s with Han, Chui, Leah and Luke in that garbage compactor deep inside the Death Star. It would be nice to send Ahmedinejad down there to join them.
    It wouldn’t matter if Ahmedinejad was from Texas, he’s have that same kind of casual flair while looking for ways to one-up everyone and get an adrenaline rush from ego-flexing.

    Ventura CA USA

  • George W. Bush’s Iranian doppleganger. It’s actually quite scary.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • Former president leads in Iran’s assembly polls

    16 December 2006

    TEHERAN – 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.

    Rafsanjani, one of Ahmadinejad’s main opponents, represented the coalition of reformists and moderates in the Experts’ Assembly elections while Mohamad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi stood for the presidential camp.

    The Experts’ Assembly has the power to appoint, supervise and even oust Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who constitutionally has the final say in state affairs.

    Rafsanjani and former reformist President Mohammad Khatami appeared together Friday at the polling station in the Jamaran mosque in north Tehran, demonstrating their political solidarity for the future.

    ISNA news agency reported that also in the parliamentary by- elections, reformist candidate Soheyla Jolodarzade from the labour party is leading the polls while Hassan Ghaffouri-Fard, a former vice-president of Rafsanani, is second.

    The results of the municipality elections are not yet clear.

    Reformist activist and former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh told the Kar news agency that the Ahmadinejad camp had lost the elections, but observers said no objective analysis of the results could be made before results were finalised.

    The interior ministry refrained to comment on the initial press reports and said that results would be officially announced by Sunday.

    The election turnout was reportedly over 55 per cent which is a record for two rather technical elections with no direct impact on political developments.

    Observers had termed the elections as a first real test for the popularity of

  • “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

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