So the election results are out in Iran and government sources report that Ahmadinejad won by a huge margin (62.6% to 33.8% for the first runner up in a field of four). Turnout was apparently high by Iranian standards (80% or so). I heard on CNN that the reformist challenger, Mousavi, even lost in his own home town, according to the official results, despite the high turnout. When the results were announced, Mousavi's supporters hit the streets and violent clashes with police resulted with around 100 people being reported to have been detained. I'm watching a press conference with Ahmadinejad on CNN as I type this and from his answers and the ridiculously soft questions from the Iranian press (which is being aggressively censored), I'd say this smells like a rigged election. It's worth noting that Iran does not allow outside election observers to watch the vote or vote count.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
So what does this mean in light of our recent discussion about democratization in Iran? I would say that those who were expecting that Iran would soon be moving towards increased democratization would have to recognize this as at least a short term set back. Of course, it may provoke more demonstrations but given the ability of the Iranian police and military to crack down on demonstration, I doubt it will happen (but I wouldn't rule it out). Regardless of who would have won in an open and honest election, the Supreme Leader would continue to dominate legislation in Iran and the Supreme Leader was not standing for election.
UPDATE: Here are some interesting facts about Iran that may give some socio-economic context to these events...
Population: 66.4 million
Median Age in Iran: 27 (the median age in the US is 36.7)
Per capita GDP (controlled for purchasing power): $12,800 (in the USA it is $47,000)
Unemployment rate: 12.5%
Per Cent of GDP coming from agriculture: 25% (in USA it is 1.2%)
Inflation rate: 28%
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 4:42 AM