Iranian parliamentary election 03/02/12: More interesting than you might think

Even though all reformist opposition has been put down hard, and kept off the ballots:

Dig it. This is a political world where Ahmadinejad is the liberal.

And the level of voter turnout also will be significant:

Always ominous, when that term expands in scope . . .

Ahmadi has always been more populist than hard-right, no? Why is this surprising to people?

I think his image in the West is based more on his notorious jackass inflammatory remarks about the Holocaust, homosexuals, etc., than on awareness of his overall policy vision. There’s a popular perception that “OMG AHMADINEJAD = WACKO NUTJOB THEOCRAT”, and it’s hard to imagine anything more hard-right than that.

Actually, ISTM, Ahmadinejad is a garden-variety corrupt-thug politician who strategically uses reactionary bigotry to provoke anti-Iranian reactions and thus generate solidarity. It doesn’t work all that well because a lot of Iranians still despise him, but it probably works better than anything else he’s capable of.

That said, it does have to be noted that Ahmadinejad has described himself as a “principlist” or supporter of Islamist-right doctrine. AFAICT, he’s tiffing with more conventional hard-liners at the moment not because he secretly harbors liberal/reformist convictions but because his most fundamental conviction seems to be “Ahmadinejad Is the Boss”, which they oppose on the grounds that “Ayatollah Khamenei Is the Boss”.

So I think the OP is somewhat off the mark when he says that Ahmadinejad is “the liberal” in this contest: rather, the liberals are out of the picture and it’s an intranecine catfight within the religious right.

Those two are going to have to have it out one of these days . . . but I don’t think the coming election-day is the day.

I stand corrected.

Reformists, in fact, are calling for an election boycott. It will be interesting to see the voter-turnout figures . . . and to see whether they are disputed.

Their candidates were forbidden to run, apparently. What are they to do?

The principalists are arguably safer, I believe it is they who oppose the development of nukes by Iran.

Why? (Serious question; I can think of plenty of good reasons, but those reasons might or might not make sense to these “principalists.”)

Huh? Says who? Since when? It’s my understanding that the principlists generally support the nuclear program as a sign of nationalistic and ideological defiance as well as a potential pragmatic deterrent to attack by a foreign enemy.

Update: And it looks like a general victory for the Khameneist factions.

Ahmadinejad trounced in runoff vote: