Sunday, June 14, 2009

Soundest Rigged Election Ever

When Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the recent elections as "the soundest, the healthiest of their kind" I don't think he intended to evoke the memory of Soviet-era elections, but if so it's only because it was lawful to campaign against the incumbent. Actually counting all the votes against the incumbent was apparently not allowed, though.

Threatening mobs gathering at the doorways of anti-incumbent activists, police break-ins and threats, and other features make it doubtful the election's surprise outcome was the result of fair electioneering. Perhaps character isn't the only thing being assassinated in connection with Iranian election.

Moussavi, the leading contender in the election, has suggested nullifying the election result may be the only way to restore confidence. Asked whether he would guarantee Moussavi's safety following his claimed victory in the election, Ahmadinejad likened the post-election situation to a crowd clashing with police following a soccer match. Ahmadinejad seemed to miss the fact that claiming the rule of law would protect everyone who wasn't unruly presumed Iran to be a nation governed by the rule of law, which is the very subject of his opponent's debate.

Considering that Ahmadinejad "debated" Moussavi during the election season by waving a folder and telling Moussavi that he had a file on Moussavi's wife, it's pretty easy to see how Moussavi might get the idea the rule of law is in jeopardy in Iran.

UPDATE: Time lists a few reasons the tally seemed suspicious, including the bizarre result that the incumbent's >60% support demonstrated enormous geographic uniformity, including in his opposition candidate's own hometown (where he is hugely popular) and in cities where demographics are significantly different than in rural areas where the incumbent previously drew his apparent support in prior (alleged to have been rigged) elections.

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