Monday, December 18, 2006

Check out the picture
The alliance of reformers and "technocratic" conservatives made a big election day splash with a highly publicized joint appearance at a polling station by the former Presidents Rafsanjani (on right), the "pragmatic conservative," and Khatami, the "reformer." In recent elections, reformists have split into several camps, whereas this time it was the conservatives who were divided.

Rafsanjani, whose political obituary has been written several times in the past, has beat all expectations in the most widely watched race -- the Council (or Assembly) of Experts. As I mentioned earlier, the COE is a small body without much day-to-day business but with enormous power, since it appoints Iran's supreme leader. Ahmadinejad was trying to get his mentor, Yazdi, elected. Yazdi will likely win a seat, but he's trailing significantly behind Rafsanjani, who is leading convincingly, as well as several other candidates. Symbolically, the results are striking, and the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, must be rather relieved.
And tonight: The Guardian
Yazdi in 6th place.

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