Debates for the upcoming Presidential elections have now been underway for some time. The tenth Presidential elections in Iran will be held in June 2009. Different political tendencies are now engaged in internal debates on how to proceed for the sensitive election campaign and who to consider as the most appropriate candidate. The Principalists now have serious doubts about supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad for the second round. Many feel that he has not been able to deliver considering the promises and commitments he made during the election campaign. Inflation, soaring commodity prices, rising unemployment and general discontent have lowered the popularity of the current President. This has has been a reason for concern among Principalists who cannot reach consensus on their next candidate. In addition, more moderate among them and those who consider themselves as Principalist Reformists, are highly critical of government policies. The current Mayor of Tehran is among those criticizing the economic and political decisions taken by the administration.
On the other hand the Reformists are in difficult circumstances. They cannot remain indifferent to the future of the Islamic Revolution and the devious version of thought and practice being made in the name of the Religion. They believe that reform is the only alternative. Mehdi Karroubi has been nominated by his party , however those in the reformist camp believe that he will not be able to compete with the rival candidates. Taking all calculations into consideration ,Seyed Mohammad Khatami is the ideal candidate; he still wields vast popularity , particularly among the young and educated Iranians. In comparison with what they see today, the era of Khatami was an era of sustained growth, hope and prosperity. The problem is that Khatami has serious reservations and has not yet announced his nomination. His reservations are not personal, he has doubts on other matters.
While national elections are engaged with heated debates, we convened local elections on Friday for the Friends of the Council in Tehran . In 370 districts of Tehran elections were held among local candidates for local 7-person councils who will serve as advisers to the City Council. The turnout was higher than expected and we had to print more ballots to keep up with the demands . The elections were held peacefully while more than 500, 000 inhabitants of Tehran took part. I visited ten polling stations in different regions of the city and the general atmosphere was positive.