Iranian Election


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from the Beeb:

Iran votes in leadership showdown
Iranians are voting in an unprecedented second round presidential run-off which offers the electorate two distinctly different visions for the future.
Contesting the election are former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr Rafsanjani is a cautious reformer seeking a rapprochement with the West, Mr Ahmadinejad a hardline conservative.

A BBC correspondent in Tehran says the election has divided Iranian society along ideological and class lines.

Vote rigging claims

The previous round was tarnished by allegations of fraud and intimidation.

Ahead of Friday's poll, Iran's outgoing president, Mohammed Khatami, urged government departments to ensure the election was free and fair.

Iranians should come out in full force, for the run-off, on Friday
Majid R, Tehran

Mr Khatami told Iran's student-run news agency, Isna, that a "climate of terror" was being created around the vote.
Some 25 people have been arrested on suspicion of vote-rigging in the first round, and interior ministry officials have reportedly been ordered to prevent intimidation at polling booths.

Country split

Mr Ahmadinejad's strong showing a week ago surprised many Iranians, when he beat five other candidates to go through to Iran's first second round run-off.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast his ballot soon after polls opened at 0900 (0430 GMT).

"The more people who participate in the election, the better it will be for the next president and for protecting Iran, and achieving our goals," he said.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani - 21%
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (above) - 19.5%
Mehdi Karroubi - 17.3%
Source: Iranian interior ministry

Opinion polls suggest the two candidates are neck and neck, although as Mr Rafsanjani voted, he told reporters: "It's a very close competition, but according to the information I have, I am ahead of the other candidate."

The differences between the two candidates have offered a stark choice to Iran's 47 million voters, half of whom are aged under 25.

Mr Rafsanjani is a former president who has campaigned for a new term in office promising social reforms and closer relations with the West.

Mr Ahmadinejad, by contrast, is a former military figure who has pledged to redistribute wealth and step up efforts to counter Western "decadence" within Iran's Islamic society.

The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says the choice between the two has divided the country from top to bottom, along ideological and class lines.

While the Mr Ahmadinejad's Islamic orthodoxy has concerned many, others have attacked Mr Rafsanjani's alleged wealth, branding him "a new Shah".

The bitterly-fought campaign has polarised Iranian society, exposing economic frustrations yet to be resolved more than 25 years after the Islamic revolution.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/06/24 10:51:47 GMT


Bonne weekend, tous !

Le Chevre

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