In just a few hours Iranians, male and female alike, will be lining up to place their ballots and cast their votes for the next President of the Islamic Republic.
For those unfamiliar with the Iranian electoral system, Iran is lead by two key leaders: the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah) and the President (currently Ahmadinejad). Similar to the US, the President of Iran is elected every four years. Men and women 16 years and older can vote for the candidate of their choice.
This year the race is down to two leading candidates: the conservative incumbent, Ahmadinejad (pictured in top left) and the reforming competitor, Mousavi (picture in top right). Ironically, Iran is also similar to the US in this year's elections in that it is expected to draw out large numbers of youth and female voters. Most Iranians are ashamed of the image their current conservative Head of State, Ahmadinejad, has presented to the rest of the world. They want someone new and more "progressive" to lead in the next for years. Not only is Mousavi a strong candidate for the more liberal party, but he presents a way out of the "Ahmadinejad" era for even the large amount of conservative Iranians who have become discontent with the past four years of presidency.
While NPR, BBC, and most of my Iranian friends agree the votes will swing to Mousavi, there is still a chance Ahmadinejad could be re-elected. The next hours will tell.
Having spent the past few months researching both Iranian government structure and women's roles in Iranian society, I am intrigued to see how women will respond to the elections. I will blog more on this later. In the meantime, if you want to watch a good Iranian fictional film about the Iranian election process I recommend Secret Ballot (2001) by Babak Payami.