Samstag, 13. Juni 2009

Not by a Whisker - Ahmadinejad "wins"


Ahmadinejad is back and seems to have secured a solidified majority. 62,63 percent have voted for Ahmadinejad according to the Iranian interior ministry and this result should not go by unquestioned due to a couple of reasons.
First, the main opposition candidate, Moussavi, received nearly 34 percent which is a strikingly weak result. More so, as most observers feared that the opposition vote would be split between the major opposition candidates. But taken together all other opposition candidates made up nearly 3 percent of the vote, bringing the entire opposition to just around 37 percent. With such a strong lead among the opposition candidates the most likely outcome would have been a run-off election between Moussavi and Ahmadinejad, apparently that won't happen now. The weak result is even more striking when one turns to the voter turnout: 85 percent of voters participated – a number that should not be taken literally due to the many flaws in the Iranian election law, of which one is that birth certificates are being used to identify voters – which is a relatively high turnout. Such mobilisation was also expected to benefit Moussavi and not Ahmadinejad. The numbers are, at best, confusing.
Second, given all these numbers, one wonders what went wrong. First off all, Ahmadinejad might really have had success in mobilising his base in the countryside. But I very much doubt that such a mobilising success would have taken him above sixty percent. And I doubt that all the shortfalls of Ahmadinejad's domestic policy – notably his failure to arrest the economic downturn and foster more employment – left him totally unharmed at the ballot box. Instead it seems to me that Iran today has slid even deeper into the grip of the Revolutionary Guards. It has always been an autocracy ot theocracy for that matter, but in recent years it appears that the Revolutionary Guards have really tightened their grip on the power centres of the country. Four years ago they already had manipulated the election result. Today history seems to repeat itself: Again candidates were dismissed and state institutions set to vote for the sitting president the revolutionary guards being one of them. After all, this is not a democracy that called for the elections.
Third, where does all that take us? The youth in Iran, the students of Iran do not support the current regime. They may not yet be in the majority but the tide will turn sooner or later. Meanwhile this might have been the regimes last chance to approach the growing, disenfranchised youth. Following the Chatami and the Moussavi disappointments they will almost certainly turn the back on the current regime. Iran has been poised for an overthrow of its regime for a long time and despite the legitimacy Ahmadinejad will now claim this vote has accelerated the regime's decline.

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