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June 12, 2009

Excitement builds as Iranians rush to polls

moussavi supporters
Excitement is in the air today in Iran as millions of people cast their vote in what is turning out to be an historic election.  And the whole world is watching with keen interest for signs of a possible shift in Iran’s choice as their next President.
Voter turnout today has been unprecedented, with a record number of people voting—in fact, MSNBC has reported that 80% of the Iranian population is expected to turn out.  The election has seen an enormous surge of energy, especially since the nationally televised presidential debates (the first of its kind in the history of the Islamic Republic). The streets of Tehran have been packed with people showing their support for their respective candidates, and hopes that their vote will make a difference in this election.
The battle for the presidency is mainly between incumbent President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad and reformist candidate Mir Housein Moussavi. Ahmadinjejad is notorious in the west for his inflammatory comments regarding Israel and the United States, and many hope a Moussavi victory will bring positive change and a chance for engagement between the US and Iran.
The youth vote is going to be a significant factor in these elections, similar to the past 2008 Obama election in the United States. And young people actually dominate the Iranian population—as about 70% of the population is under thirty-five. The majority of young people in Iran have placed their vibrant support behind Moussavi, as can be seen in their adoption of the color green in their dress, which has become the signature color of his campaign.
Polling has been extended by two hours because of the vast number of people who have turned out to vote. We should know the result of the elections by tomorrow if there is a clear majority. However, if no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote, a run-off between the top two candidates will occur next Friday.
We at NIAC are watching the election closely, and will keep you updated on all the information on this exciting time for Iranians all over the world.

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