Iran goes to the polls today to elect new president | world | Hindustan Times
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Iran goes to the polls today to elect new president

world Updated: Jun 12, 2009 01:20 IST

AFP
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Iran’s presidential election has turned into carnival time for voters in the Islamic republic who have poured into the streets “to party until dawn” in support of candidates. Election process

“Let’s cut the president’s term to one month and extend the campaign to four years!” read a text message circulating on Iranian cell phones as campaigning ended on Thursday.

Under conservative clerical rule for the past three decades, Iran has little to offer in terms of nightlife in the absence of clubs and bars.

And to top it all, Iran has also been subject to a crackdown on ‘un-Islamic’ attire and behaviour as the morality police warn and arrest unruly citizens.

But the campaign gave Iranians an excuse to hold street parties in support of the frontrunners, former premier Mir Hossein Mousavi and incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

At nightfall, young people and families with children in tow would cruise around in cars festooned with pictures and campaign stickers, many wearing green for Mousavi and others waving the Iranian flag for Ahmadinejad.

Although “carnivals” are a usual fixture of Iranian elections, this year’s campaign was more open, spurred on by television debates in which candidates traded accusations of dishonesty and corruption.