Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Four days left, and the debates are now over. I liveblogged the last debate between Rezaei and Ahmadinejad last night, a debate that was 90% focused on economic issues, federalism and almost nothing else. The debate was much tamer than I thought it would be as Rezaei had chosen to appear presidential instead of focusing entirely on Ahmadinejad, and that was probably the correct approach for him to take. The only real exchange between the two happened near the end where Ahmadinejad wanted to know what Rezaei meant when he said that during the early 80s the army pretty much ran the country, which was a response to Ahmadinejad's claim before that Rezaei had no experience with bureaucracy.
The article on the debate from Press TV shows pretty much the same thing.
Here's what else happened yesterday.
In Tehran, Mousavi supporters formed a huge human chain, and Ahmadinejad supporters poured into a mosque (longer article here). It seems the Mousavi supporters had wanted to use a stadium but permission was denied, so they decided on the spur of the moment that it would take place along the street instead.
A poll shows Ahmadinejad with 34% support, Mousavi with 14%, 27% undecided, Karroubi with 2%, and Rezaei with 1%. The poll is being called a "new poll" in the article but it was actually conducted from May 11th to 20th; however, it's still worth taking a look at since it was conducted by a group from outside Iran, and even before the debates Ahmadinejad is far from the 50% line he would need to win in the first round. Also, a full 90% of respondents said they intend to vote, which favours the reformist camp.
ُThere have been quite a few videos circulating making fun of Ahmadinejad for some comments of his that some sort of "halo of light" had enveloped him in 2005 when he made a speech at the UN and everybody stopped to watch him give it. Here's an article on that, and one of the videos:
See here for some more.
The Wall Street Journal also has an article on the street demonstration yesterday.
Finally, another article on the Rezaei-Ahmadinejad debate yesterday.