Today’s parliamentary election in Iran culminates boring weeks of campaigning in which in more commonly lackluster conservative candidates vied for votes and a smaller number of reform candidates tried to get across their message of hope. Many iranians are upset at soaring inflation and high unemployment and wanted an opportunity to vote for candidates who were interested in their concerns. However, the unelected Guardian Council took care to guard voters aganst having real choices for change. One Iranian political analyst commented: “There is discontent with foreign policy and inflation, but the nuclear issue has so far played to the government’s benefit.” There is also a high probabillity many critics of President Ahmadinejad will not bother to vote given the lack of choice available.
In an Iranian election, reform groups are only able to seriously contest about one-third of seats up for election. It is difficult to mount an effective and honest election when those opposing the government are barred from running. This is what is called “Iranian democracy in action.”