OpinionIran in the World PressIn Iran, voting isn't really democracy

In Iran, voting isn’t really democracy

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Rocky Mountain News – Opinion: While blasting President Bush for questioning the honesty of last Friday’s elections, Iran’s ruling clerics were busily trying to fix the outcome of this Friday’s runoff. On the eve of last Friday’s ballot, Bush issued a statement saying, accurately, that power in Iran “is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy.” Rocky Mountain News

Opinion

While blasting President Bush for questioning the honesty of last Friday’s elections, Iran’s ruling clerics were busily trying to fix the outcome of this Friday’s runoff.

On the eve of last Friday’s ballot, Bush issued a statement saying, accurately, that power in Iran “is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy.” Before the election, the ruling self-appointed Council of Guardians had barred 1,000 would-be candidates for failing to measure up to the regime’s standards of loyalty and compliance. Seven candidates were deemed acceptable and even then supreme ruler Ali Khamenei had to intervene to add a moderate to the ballot for appearances’ sake.

The runoff this Friday is between a regime retread, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the president from 1989 to 1997, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mayor of Tehran and former regime enforcer. The candidate who finished third, former parliamentary speaker Mahdi Karroubi, complained in a letter about regime thugs intimidating voters. Two newspapers that planned to print the letter were closed before they could do so.

The backers of the two candidates will battle hard to win Friday because of the perks at stake. But the ruling inner circle has already fixed the election so the outcome doesn’t matter. The voters only have a choice between hard-line and harder-line.

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