18 juni 2005
High turnout in Iranian elections?
Iranians went to the polls yesterday to elect a new president. According to the latest news, a second round will be necessary on Friday, a face-off between former president Rafsanjani and the radical mayor of Teheran Ahmedinejad. Finishing number three was the former chairman of parliament Karrubi who is already accusing number two of massive electoral fraud. Curious to see how this story will evolve. The only reformist candidate Mo'in took only 13% of the vote.
The official figure of the turnout was 68%, but that report, transmitted without any criticism by foreign journalists like Rudi Vranckx of Belgian television (audio in Dutch!), needs to be considered with suspicion. Regime Change Iran reports that a Belgian journalist (Vranckx? - no mention of this incident in his reporting) "had a confrontation with Iranian authorities when the journalist was refused a request to visit other polling independently but that the government had not authorized in advance." Moreover, Iranian state television is said to have used old footage from previous elections, suggesting a high turnout. So the reports should not to be taken at face-value. A pity that western journalists do not take a more critical approach.
But amidst all the reports about the election, let us not forget, as we stated earlier that for the Iranians "the choice is limited to a number of candidates pre-selected by the Guardian Council, a body appointed by the Supreme Leader Khamenei", with whom ultimately all power resides.
Update 19/06/05: more on the accusations of the rigged election and on the lower turnout than reported