19 December 2006

Election setback for Ahmadinejad

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.


Pete said...

Its positive news. If Ahmadinejad is happy to accept the will of the ballot box it might by unnessary to bomb that tricky bugger.

Bryan said...

As President, Ahmadinejad has as much power as Prince Charles has in the British government. He makes speeches, not policy.

The Assembly of Experts has real power in the Iranian government, this is the marker for where things are going.

This also marks a defeat for the Revolutionary Guard who are aligned with Ahmadinejad politically.

Looks like they are tired of listening to him.

jams o donnell said...

I know Ahmadinejad is not an executive president, he's more like the Irish or German president than the American one but as you rightly state it does mark a defeat for a vocally conservative faction.

I'm not sure what will come of it (not a lot I suppose) but hopefully it is a clear message to the powers that be in Iran.

Much as I loathe Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime an attack would be a disaster. It would achieve nothing but galvanise support against the west.

sonia said...

Seems like Ahmadinejad's sabre-rattling against the West has backfired....

jams o donnell said...

it looks that way. Here's hoping it really has backfired