The Iranian president seems to have faced electoral embarrassment as his supporters failed to make an impact in last Friday’s elections for the Assembly of Experts and local councils.
According to numerous reports (including the Guardian and the BBC) early results suggest that his Sweet Scent of Service coalition had won just three out of 15 seats on the Tehran city council. This result appears to be mirrored elsewhere, with councils throughout Iran returning a majority of reformists and moderate fundamentalists (if that is not a contradiction in terms) opposed to Mr Ahmadinejad.
In addition Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom Mr Ahmadinejad defeated in last year's presidential election, received the most votes in elections to the Assembly of Experts, a clerical body empowered to appoint and remove Iran's supreme leader. By contrast, Ayatollah Mohammed-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, Mr Ahmadinejad's presumed spiritual mentor, came sixth.
"The initial results of elections throughout the country indicate that Mr Ahmadinejad's list has experienced a decisive defeat nationwide. They were tantamount to a big 'no' to the government's authoritarian and inefficient methods," a statement from the pro-reform Islamic Iran Participation Front said.
The Tehran Times focuses on the high turnout for such an election (around 60%) quoting Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi who described the election as a “national jihad”
While the election results certainly don’t mean that Iran is about to change overnight into a liberal democracy where women are not third class citizens it does seem to show that there is a fair degree of disenchantment with Ahmadinejad. He may play to the gallery but slogans are no substitute for effective policies.
Iran elections Ahmadinejad