12 June 2009: Election day in Iran

Friday, June 12, 2009

I've been providing a daily election update for the Iranian election for maybe two weeks now, and now it's election day morning. Election day and the day before is when all of a sudden the election makes the front page of major newspapers and the number of articles on the subject skyrockets. At the same time they're mostly just summaries of the election campaign until now because most of those reading them are just tuning in now.

Reuters has a bit on the hope Afghans have for improved relations between Iran and the United States. It's often said that the US and Iran actually have some pretty large common interests in the region, especially on the Iran-Afghanistan border. Iran has a large illegal immigrant population from Afghanistan (2+ million) and would love to see a stabilization there in order to lower the desire to flee from their own country into more stable Iran, and the US could certainly benefit from the expertise Iran has in the area (it's their backyard, after all), so the more dialogue between the two the better.

Keep an eye on the search results for Mousavi and Iran election on Twitter today.

Karroubi warns that ballot boxes must be guarded

I wonder how common this will be:

That's a tweet from ten hours ago by someone who will be voting for Mousavi but still likes Karroubi the best. Though Iran has no Ralph Nader effect (it's not first-past-the-post as a candidate needs 50% to win in the first round) a lot of Karroubi voters still want to end this in the first round with a Mousavi victory.

Here's a video of Iranians casting their vote around the world (that can be done at some 100+ locations). It's a given that there will be more overseas voting this time around considering the difference in the mood of this election with the depressing one held in 2005. The signs say "I'm voting" (من رای می دهم) or "we're voting" (ما رای می دهیم).

Foreign Policy article on the election and just how quiet the Obama administration has been on the subject. Compare that to the utter idiocy of the previous administration in making a presidential statement on the eve of the election in 2005. Hardliners in Iran gave Bush a big thank-you for the support and Ahmadinejad won in the second round.

And now for my prediction: Mousavi in the first round with 55%. 40% for Ahmadinejad, the remainder between Karroubi and Rezaei. Source: basic math.

The election in 2005 where Ahmadinejad won had a turnout of 63% in the first round and 45% in the second, a very low turnout for an election in Iran. Reformists are hoping for a high turnout this time, and some officials are predicting record turnout for this election. A poll here from last month (that's before all the debates and most of the excitement on the streets right now) finds that nearly 90% plan to vote. In addition to that, the population in Iran with access to the internet is now 23 million, compared to a mere 7.5 million last time, and mobile phone ownership has gone from 40% to somewhere around 75% today.
More posts later on as events warrant.

Edit 1: It's morning now and voter turnout is very high.


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