Sunday, June 26, 2005

Spot the democracy


Election inspectors were out in force today watching for vote rigging as Iranians turned out to elect a president in a runoff that pits a former two-term president against the conservative mayor of Tehran.

The city was tense and buzzing with activity as polling places appeared more crowded than during the first round, a week earlier, in the contest between former President Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a stalwart of the Islamic revolution, and Mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a newcomer to national politics who campaigned as a pious everyman.

The presidential runoff, the first since the 1979 revolution, presented voters with two distinct choices, and two directions for the country....


The Zionist General Council unanimously elected Ra'anana mayor Ze'ev Bielski as interim chairman of the Jewish Agency on Friday morning after former minister Natan Sharansky removed himself from the race.

Most of the World Likud faction that nominated Sharansky walked out before the vote to protest a controversial decision by the agency's powerful Advise and Consent Committee to reject Sharansky's candidacy.


The Advise and Consent committee is made up of wealthy international donors who support the agency. Its head, Agency Board of Governors chair Carole Solomon, said Sharon made it clear that Bielski was the only acceptable candidate.