Ahmadinejad On Ropes as Iran Votes

Massive turnout expected in critical presidential ballot
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2009 5:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – The polls have opened in Iran's presidential election, and a near-record turnout is expected after an unusually intense campaign that saw nightly rallies and Western-style TV debates. Until just two weeks ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemed a shoo-in for a second term, but the moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi has surged on the back of a youth-driven campaign making use of e-mails and text messages, reports the Times of London.

A candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to be elected; if none of the four candidates wins a majority today, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff next week. This morning, Mousavi alleged that some of his party's representatives were being kept from polling stations, and other challengers have appealed to Ayatollah Ali Khameini to ensure a fair vote. Polls are unreliable, but analysts say Mousavi has a decent chance to pull off a first-round victory, notes the Telegraph.