tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ayatollocracy Votes Today

Iran's presidential elections are today!

Defending champion Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the slight favourite to repeat, after running what has been called a "dirty" campaign against his rivals, and principally his main challenger, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Musavi.

Mr. Musavi is seen as the progressive candidate, supported by former president Mohammed Khatami, who withdrew from the race in March after a brief flirtation with another run at the top.

One of the biggest story lines of the campaign is whether Mr. Musavi could separate himself from Mehdi Karrubi, former Speaker of Parliament and also considered a progressive candidate. Iranian moderates and progressives fear a vote-split between the two, which of course would favour Mr. Ahmadinejad.

The fourth and final approved candidate, Mohsen Rezai, former chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards--the elite state police unit--is considered a long shot and who is still a wanted man in Argentina for his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre.

Women in cities, students and ethnic minorities--all of whom tend to vote more progressive than the national average--figure to play a prominent role in today's outcome.

The two front-runners have sparred mainly over domestic and economic policies. They agree very generally on Iran's right to nuclear technology, although Mr. Musavi has accused Mr. Ahmadinejad of turning Iran into a pariah state over the issue. Both agree that the West's attitude toward Iran must change, but the progressive candidate has tacitly argued for dialogue with the Obama administration.

An unbelievably exhaustive analysis of the candidates is here. Read on, and follow the results as the day continues. Big day for Iran and the world.

[Left to right in the photograph: Rezai, Ahmadinejad, Karrubi, Musavi]

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