Monday, June 29, 2009

Continuing to watch Iran

The latest news I've caught regarding Iran is that the Guardian Council performed a partial (closed-doors) recount and announced that the election results hold, that while there were irregularities, they weren't significant enough to warrant a full recount or a runoff election.

Based on what I said earlier, I would take the position that the magnitude of irregularities the Guardian Council has already admitted to are significant enough that recounting merely shifts the possibilities a little, especially doing a small partial recount. Moreover, a recount only fixes counting errors; it does not cover the margin of outright fraudulent votes.

If a significant fraction of ballots are fraudulently cast, recounting the same partly-fraudulent ballots will not test whether or not the fraud altered the election. I am somewhat discouraged to see that the Guardian Council is trying to close off the idea of holding a runoff. I do even take it as a sign that they are worried Ahmadinejad would lose such a runoff. If he enjoyed the level of popular support they claim, he would easily win a runoff election, and I should think that holding a runoff election - normally warranted in Iranian presidential elections - would shut the mouths of many complainers.

I'm still hoping that this all works out nicely in the end, but I am growing quite pessimistic.

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