Iran entered its final day of campaigning before its presidential elections tomorrow. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s challengers held rival protests in the city, criticizing the president for his crackdowns on personal freedoms and his troubles managing Iran’s struggling economy.
Several media have noted that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s challengers, mostly the reformists Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, once appeared pretty weak but seem to have gained momentum in recent weeks. It remains to be seen, of course, whether any of the challengers stands a chance of unseating the president. Some analysts have predicted that Mousavi and Karroubi will split the reformist vote, undermining one another.
The Economist says the results of the vote could hinge primarily on voter turnout, with higher turnout benefiting the reformists. The piece notes that recent televised debates seem to have energized Iranians “as much as any [election] since the Islamic revolution of 1979.”
The New York Times reports the state of the Iranian economy has emerged as a defining issue ahead of the vote.
EurasiaNet has an analysis arguing that Ahmadinejad may be trying to foment a “revolution within the Islamic Revolution” in hopes of establishing a “neoconservative dictatorship with the blessing of the country’s spiritual leader.” The problem, the article says, is that Ahmadinejad’s opponents are stronger than the Iranian president once thought.
Foreign Policy has a special report on the elections questioning whether a new revolution might be taking place.