Today’s second round in Iran’s presidential elections is taking place in a tense atmosphere with the result uncertain.
Nearly 30 people, including at least one military commander have been arrested for suspected electoral violations during the June 17 first round, and the campaign.
One man said he will be voting for the surprise challenger, as he is the only candidate who will fight corruption and immorality
The challenger is Tehran’s mayor, and the arrests appear to support Iranian reformist’s claims the first round vote was tainted by dirty tricks. Hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was boosted by a late surge in support, which swept him into today’s runoff ahead of the reformist candidate many expected to come second.The last 48 hours of campaigning have been busy for former president Rafsanjani’s supporters, but he himself has stayed at home after, he says, he received death threats. One woman said her vote will go to the candidate who promises freedom of speech.
While Rafsanjani is not an overt reformer, he is likely to defend the modest reforms of his predecessor, outgoing president Khatami. He insists he is a moderate prepared to move Iran back into the international fold.
Iranian society appears to be split along class lines for the vote, with Rafsanjani getting support from the upper and middle classes, and those in the establishment who fear the unknown changes Ahmadinejad may herald. Iran’s mayor appears to get his support from the poor, who like his pledges to redistribute Iran’s oil wealth.