RealNews

Apathy shadows Iranian election

Iranians vote for a new president today after a short, lackluster campaign that often seemed less about who would win than about how many people would bother to cast ballots. Even so, the voting could lead to a dramatic showdown between hard-liners and reformers.Over the past two years, the unelected Islamic clerics who hold the real power in Iran have bludgeoned the liberalization program of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami, and few people appear to believe his successor will fare any better. The apparent front-runner in a field of seven candidates is former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a politically cagey member of the original Islamic revolutionary leadership who is trying to reposition himself as a moderate. Most observers think neither Rafsanjani nor the chief reformist candidate will win outright. That could set up a tense runoff at the end of next week in which Iranians will either endorse Khatami’s thwarted reformist efforts or bow to the conservative Islamic rule under which they have lived for the past 26 years.Full Story

OODA Analyst

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