December 17, 2006


Moderate Ex-President Takes Early Lead in Iran Vote (NAZILA FATHI, 12/17/06, NY Times)

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that most candidates on the slate led by Mr. Rafsanjani were headed for a victory in the elections for the 86-member Assembly of Experts. Muhammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, the hard-line cleric, had also received enough votes to get elected. Other Web sites reported that Mr. Rafsanjani received far more votes personally than Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi.

Officials close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad backed Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi, who has often declared his opposition to democracy. “The vote for Mr. Rafsanjani was a clear message showing that the average middle class who came out to vote for him against Mr. Ahmadinejad last year has become stronger,” said Saeed Leylaz, a political analyst. “This is because of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s radical and wrong policies.” [...]

The Interior Ministry said Sunday that the turnout for the double elections held Friday, the local council elections and the Assembly of Experts, was around 60 percent.

That is above the previous figure of 12 percent in 2003 for the local city council elections and 46 percent in 1998 for the Assembly of Experts.

The turnout carries political significance, and the results could suggest whether Mr. Ahmadinejad still enjoys strong popularity or people were casting their votes to protest his policies.

Go ahead, admit it, your favorite analysts have Iran exactly backwards.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2006 9:53 AM
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