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Yesterday, the approved candidates for Iran's upcoming election became public. They consist of four candidates, two conservatives: Ahmadinejad and Rezai and two reformers: Mousavi and Karroubi. Surprisingly, the only cleric among the four is Karroubi. The 2005 ballot included eight candidates. In the June 12th election if no candidate reaches the 50% mark then there will be a runoff election on June 19th. Mir-Hossein Mousavi has broke precedent and is campaigning distinctly for the women's vote, and he has put his wife, Dr. Zahra Rahnavard front and center in his campaign.

Dr. Zahra Rahnavard


An accomplished scholar and adviser to former President Khatami, Dr. Rahnavard  promises to put women's rights front and center in a Mousavi administration. She has also been positively covered here by Guardian writer Massoumeh Torfeh. Here is another short article on her campaign efforts: May 21st

This election strategy could change the dynamic if the women's vote went significantly over 50% for Mousavi. 65% of the University students  in Iran are women. It provides the potential for a win in the first round if reform minded Iranians give most of their support to Mousavi; at the very least it will propel Mousavi to the runoff election. The risk of this position lies in the possible reaction of conservative/traditionalists who may strongly oppose such reforms and support Ahmadinejad or Rezai. Strategically, it would seem that this solidified opposition may be split in the first round between the two Conservatives, but they would likely rally behind whichever Conservative receives the most votes and advances to the runoff election.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi


While Mousavi now belongs to the Reform coalition, when he served as Prime Minister during the Iran/Iraq War he was a Conservative. If the Conservative vote splits between Ahmadinejad and Rezai, then it could open the way for a first round win. Because of the economy, Ahmadinejad is under attack from all angles, and campaigning as an incumbent might be very difficult for him. The mere fact that there is another approved Conservative on the ballot seems to indicate a serious loss of confidence in Ahmadinejad among the Guardian Council members. The fourth candidate, Karroubi, while his reform positions certainly appeal to many Iranians, his position as a cleric, may work against him. The President is the highest office recently held by a non-cleric. 50% of the population was born after the Revolution, and many more of them are voting now as opposed to 2009. They tend to be less religious, and they want more freedoms in their daily lives--especially those who live in the major cities.

A series of televised debates are set to take place between two candidates at a time. The current schedule can be seen here: TV Debate Schedule

The short campaign may be over three weeks from tomorrow. One has to hope a new direction will emerge out of this election for Iran. It certainly will be interesting to watch.

Originally posted to FrankCornish on Thu May 21, 2009 at 05:48 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  TJ (11+ / 0-)

    They certainly have much shorter election cycles than we do.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Thu May 21, 2009 at 05:49:24 AM PDT

  •  Even if Ahmedinejad loses the election (5+ / 0-)

    (and I pray that he does), watch the neocons switch their focus to Khamenei.

    "If the Nuremburg laws were applied, then every post World War II American president would have been hanged." - Noam Chomsky

    by elephunk on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:03:37 AM PDT

  •  Please talk about "Death to Potatoes" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, capelza, borkitekt, Dexter

    Seriously, it's hilarious.

    Pragmatic progressivism is the future.

    by Pragmaticus on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:08:44 AM PDT

  •  They have TV debates? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, FrankCornish

    "It takes two to lie. One to lie, one to hear it." Homer Simpson

    by Euroliberal on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:15:17 AM PDT

    •  Yup... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, capelza, borkitekt

      the state media has come under a great deal of fire for being Ahmadinejad's mouthpiece. They have scheduled the first 6 90 minute one-on-one debates. The link is in the diary.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:17:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  BTW thanks for link. I've shared it widely n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, borkitekt, FrankCornish
      •  IRNA, if I want to know exactly where the ISI (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        stands on  something.  They've also really been pumping the President's visits in the photo section.

        Have you noticed that Ahmadinejad's wife (well her chador encases body anyway) has been surfacing more lately.  At least in photos.

        It's an interesting contrast between Azam al-Sadat Farahi and Zahra Rahnavard.   I'll be curious to see if she does make any appearances to try to counter Mousavi's wife's appeal.   And that letter she sent to Suzanne Mubarak...what do you think of that?

        Excellent diary serious, I've really enjoyed these and learned a lot.

        •  Thanks for the info on the letter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I will track it down--to clarify a letter from Rahnavard to Mubarak?

          Ahmadinejad has a savvy campaign manager, he will do anything to try to turn this around. Dr. Rahnavard, however, is one smart woman with a sterling reputation. Mousavi is lucky to have such wise counsel.

          You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

          by FrankCornish on Thu May 21, 2009 at 08:13:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No..sorry for the confusion. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's a letter from Mrs. Ahmadinejad ( Azam al-Sadat Farahi) to Mrs. Mubarak.

            Apparently, a few days before she sent one, the wife of Khatami had sent a similar one a few days before...

            Here's one link, you can find more with this info.


            I do like that  Dr. Rahnavard is out there stumping with her husband.   And her hijab is pretty "liberal" for a politician or political woman.  

            When I first read about Mousavi running, I was reminded of Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid!".   He came back because of his economic concerns.   I may have over simplified his position, but it was the impression i had.

            •  It is the economy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and fortunately Ahmadinejad is getting that from both Mousavi and Rezai. We'll see how it plays out. I'm counting on three things

              1. Reformers will not sit out this vote like they did in 05. They realize now, that they should not have let their frustrations get the best of them then.
              1. The young people want jobs and a looser set of social standards. There are more and more of the post-Revolution baby-boomers who turned 21 in the last four years. They should tilt heavily toward Reform, and they are pretty motivated to vote.
              1. I think the Women's Vote gambit is brilliant. Iranian women are by far the most educated female population in the ME, and I think there is a great deal of resentment there. They want to see better opportunities for themselves and a 21st Century Iran, not a 19th Century mindset.

              You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

              by FrankCornish on Thu May 21, 2009 at 08:53:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  do iranian women voters tend to lean reform? (6+ / 0-)

    would this be true of only urban women, or rural ones as well? ahmadiejad did well last election cycle in large part because the reformers forgot that there were a ton of rural iranians; does mousavi have a way to make inroads into rural voters, or is this essentially an urban-rural battle? does region play any role as well, or for that matter, ethnicity in the arab areas?

    love these diaries. it's amazing to hear a discussion of the women's vote in middle east politics; iran really is far more liberal than americans give them credit for.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:18:20 AM PDT

    •  I have yet to find (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jay C, capelza, borkitekt, papicek

      voting statistics that have been translated. Ahmadinejad won for many reasons, and yes the rural voters tended to support him. For women, things were loosening up under Khatami, but that ended the last four years. They might collectively be of a different mood. If the women's vote goes 60% for Reform the election is over. Now, keep in mind what they are talking about are rights related to child custody, divorce, and professional advancement. They want some relaxation in the dress code, but no one is talking about abandoning hejab. It is also important to realize that while women do have to cover their heads, it is not like men run around in shorts and T-shirts. Iranian men always must wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts in public.

      You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

      by FrankCornish on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  is there any effect... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, borkitekt, FrankCornish

    from the result of the recent Israeli elections? Or is it all domestically driven?

    Hmmm...I suppose all the candidates, conservative and reform, can take the same line on Israel, and even I'd be hard put to disagree with them.

    "The cure for bullshit is fieldwork."
    --Robert Bates, Department of Government; Harvard University

    by papicek on Thu May 21, 2009 at 06:59:12 AM PDT

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