The recent surge in popular enthusiasm for Ahmadinejad's main rival, Mir Hussein Mousavi, has increased the likelihood that the president's neo-conservative backers will resort to rigging the election results. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Some public opinion surveys released before the last day of campaigning on June 10 showed that Mousavi is near, or perhaps has even surpassed, the incumbent.
Under Iran's tangled, quasi-democratic system, however, voters do not have the final say in elections. The ultimate responsibility for the outcomes of elections falls to two unelected entities -- The Guardian Council and the Interior Ministry -- that are not directly responsible to the Iranian people. Both institutions are packed with Ahmadinejad partisans. Both also have a track record of meddling in elections.
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Kamal Nazer Yasin is a pseudonym for a freelance journalist specializing in Iranian affairs.