Thursday, February 19, 2004

# Posted 12:42 PM by Patrick Belton  

ON THE EVE OF A CORRUPT ELECTION which will undoubtedly install a conservative majority and add the Iranian parliament to a trifecta of judicial, clerical, and now political institutions controlled by hardliners, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi announced today that she would not vote, in protest against the mass disqualification of reformist candidates. Abstention will be widespread, in fact - Agence France Presse's correspondent this morning found only one passer-by who was planning to vote, after speaking with three dozen.

Still, there will be an election, even if it has already been determined that its results will not reflect the preferences of the Iranian people, and the San Francisco Chronicle details the parties which will contest it. The Coalition of Builders of Islamic Iran, incidentally, is the party which has been designated to win, and it has said it will pursue a "Chinese" model of governance - presumably, economic development, authoritarian political control, and courting on its own terms of a West which does not truly care about human rights within its borders (see Kerry, below).

Here is the round-up of coverage: Washington Times, Agence France-Presse, Asia Times, Guardian, Radio Free Europe, Boston Globe, Al Jazeera, WaPo.
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