Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mohammad Ali Abtahi on elections

The Iranian blogger Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former member of Mohammad Khatami's reformist government, reflects on the election of ultraconservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

However, I think Mr. Ahmadinejad was lucky in this election because:

- In the firs round, the three reformist candidates i.e. Karoubi, Moeen and Mehralizadeh and to some extent Hashemi each won part of the votes, so the votes were distributed among the candidates.

- Many of those addressed by reformists, without paying attention to what may happen, boycotted the election.

- Some reformist candidates gave false promises and sounded as if they were going to cheat ordinary or elite walks of life. The slogans which were attempting to cheat elites lead many people think that there are internal wars on the way.

-In the political atmosphere of the advertisements, little was said about the economic issues. We focused our attention on elites and forgot the ordinary people who are trying to get their daily bread.

-Other candidates, including those who cared a lot about the religion, forgot this issue in their advertisements. Even Mr. Rafsanjani failed to mention religious matters in his advertisement. This is while those who are in charge of the religious centers and mosques have access to people who are the service of their emotions and thoughts.

- Reformists' misuse of opportunities also made a lot of disappointments.

-Mr. Ahmadinejad was lucky in the first round specially when organized attempts were done and fatwas' were issued to collect votes for him. As a result even Mr. Larijani and Ghalibaf were defeated and also Mr. Karoubi believes that he was the selected person of the nation. Mr. Ahmadinejad was luckier in the second round.

-The main candidates who could make a change were not allowed in.

-The parties who had to unite with Mr. Rafsanjani could not convey their justification for this surprising selection to the society.

-The immoral behaviors as usual had its own negative effects.

-Mr. Hashemi for the majority of the people symbolizes the wealth and power in the society, which can be a true or a false claim, and Mr. Ahmadinejad, as his rival, used the gap between the government and the people, the poor and the rich and symbolized himself as the one who is going to fight against poverty and make a change in particular for non-elites who are living in suburbs and ordinary people and this worked for him.

I worry that things will get worse for Mr Abtahi and other Iranian bloggers following this election. The rest of us must be prepared to serve as their witnesses and defenders.


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