Extenuating Circumstances

3 really very important and interesting issues that hover over the populist element of the election:

1) As Bill Samii pointed out in 2005, hardline regime officials seem to believe that they can manipulate approximately 5 million votes. This number comes up a lot, for instance the head of the country’s election bureau announced the “number of eligible voters at 46 million and 200 thousand, whereas the state statistical organization had previously announced that about 51 million and 300 thousand people are eligible to vote”, a difference of approximately 5 mill.

It may only be about 2.6 million this year, as it seems, from a letter published publicly by actual Ministry of Interior employees that a total number of 59 million and 600 thousand ballots have been printed, despite the Ministry of Interior’s claim of having printed only 57 million ballots. This is a 2.6 million ballet difference, not to mention that there are reported to be only 47.2 million eligible voters. WTF?

And now you have actual Minister of Interior employees coming out with a letter reporting that Ayatollah Mesbeh Yazdi, the hardcore seminary official, leader of the Islamic Research Institute,  extremely activist ayatollah, and spiritual mentor of Ahmadinejad, has issued a religious decree sanctioning cheating in the election on Friday. As he admitted back in 2005 after Ahmadinejad won, it seems he pulls no punches in how far he’s willing to go to keep accord between the hardcore, activist principle-ists (as opposed to the pragmatic ones, such as Reza’i and those conservatives who will not vote for Ahmadinejad) and the executive branch.

This will only help if voter turnout stays low. Some polls have shown that it might reach over 80%. If so, these 5 million votes will not help Ahmadinejad. But if it’s close like in 2005, 5 million may be all they need. This is particularly true because the conservatives typically represent about 17-20 million voters throughout each year. Thus turnout MUST BE high for Mousavi to have a chance. In fact, his campaign manager has said that if turnout isn’t about 70%, Mousavi has less than a 35% chance of winning.

2) Rafsanjani has written a wicked letter straight to the Leader of the Revolution, Khamenei, basically accusing Ahmadinejad of insulting the whole system during the debates, and before. The letter thrashes him saying:

Tens of millions of people in the country and outside watched as he lied and violated laws against religion, morality and fairness, and as he had targeted the achievements of our Islamic system.

I wonder what Khamenei is thinking, as I am sure everyone is. I have taken very detailed looks at him and my impressions right now are this:

-He does not like all of this rhetoric from either side. He likes stability, he’s a balancer. Every year during the election he always mentions that the candidates should be careful not to throw accusations against each other that hurt the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.

-Yet, someone who (Ahmadinejad) Khamenei, whether we agree if he wants him again as the president or not, has shared close relations with, is basically denouncing the system (without realizing he’s biting down so deeply) by denouncing a history of corruption. This does not bode well in Khamenei’s head, I guarantee that. And while this letter asks of him to publicly denounce Ahmadinejad he won’t, but he may repeat his edict that the candidates MUST desist this smear campaign against one another because it makes the system look bad.

3) All of this “change” rhetoric and youth in the street is making the IRGC very nervous. While the leadership has promised neutrality, the publications speak against the reformist movement. I know the basij has been involved already in the streets, but their fury has not been unleashed yet. To me that shows the leader is serious to make sure there is no official order to attack the reformist movement physically, but IRGC is restless. If they unleash “the dogs”, the basijis will come out in full force like they did for the student uprising in ’99.

But while the mandate of the IRGC and basij are not that of the police, constitutionally speaking, their role is to protect against anything that threatens the Republic. If they feel fit to see a possible “velvet revolution” via the reformist movement they will see it within their legal right to defend that. Even the IRGC commander has promised basij interdiction if “soft overthrow” seems ‘imminent’.

These 3 things have a very real effect on this election and is being reported on less than the populist support that we are focusing on.

Oh, and a little aside, here is a funny Ahmadinejad slogan, versus a funny Mousavi slogan:

موسوی کم آورده، بچه سوسول آورده

Mousavi kam aavardeh, bache-ha soosool avardeh

(Mousavi doesn’t have enough power so he gets the sissy boys)

احمدی بای بای

Ahmadi Baai Baai

(Ahmadinejad, BYE BYE)

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~ by The Common Man on June 10, 2009.

One Response to “Extenuating Circumstances”

  1. […] the thing, whether Mousavi wins or not, there will be a lot of reformist victories in districts. As I’ve mentioned before the GC doesn’t think it can manipulate all votes, but approximately 5 […]

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