View Full Version : Ahmadinejad Opponents Win Elections

12-21-2006, 02:16 PM

Ahmadinejad Opponents Win Elections
By Ali Akbar Dareini
The Associated Press

Thursday 21 December 2006

Opponents of Iran's ultra-conservative president won nationwide elections for local councils, final results confirmed Thursday, an embarrassing outcome for the hardline leader that could force him to change his anti-Western tone and focus more on problems at home.

Moderate conservatives critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a majority of seats in last week's elections, followed by reformists who were suppressed by hard-liners two years ago. Analysts said the president's allies won less than 20 percent of local council seats across the country.

The vote was widely seen as a sign of public discontent with Ahmadinejad's stances, which have fueled fights with the West and led Iran closer to U.N. sanctions.

Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran's nuclear program are believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him into power. Some conservatives feel Ahmadinejad has spent too much time confronting the West and failed to deal with Iran's struggling economy.

Final results of Friday's local elections announced by the Interior Ministry show moderate conservatives opposed to Ahmadinejad have won a majority of the seats.

The voting also represented a partial comeback for reformists - who favor closer ties with the West and further loosening of social and political restrictions under the Islamic government.

In Tehran, the capital, candidates supporting Mayor Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf, a moderate conservative, won seven of the 15 council seats. Reformists won four, while Ahmadinejad's allies won three. The last seat went to an Olympic wrestling champion who is considered an independent.

The election does not directly effect Ahmadinejad's administration and is not expected to bring immediate policy changes. The local councils handle community matters in cities and town across the country.

But it represented the first time the public has weighed in on Ahmadinejad's stormy presidency since he took office in June 2005. The results are expected to pressure him to change his populist anti-Western tone and focus more on Iran's high unemployment and economic problems at home.

Leading reformist Saeed Shariati said the results of the election was a "big no" to Ahmadinejad and his allies.

"People's vote means they don't support Ahmadinejad's policies and want change," Shariati, a leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Iran's largest reformist party told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Similar anti-Ahmadinejad sentiment was visible in the final results of a parallel election held to select members of the Assembly of Experts, a conservative body of 86 senior clerics that monitors Iran's supreme leader and chooses his successor.

A big boost for moderates within the ruling Islamic establishment was visible in the big number of votes for former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who lost to Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election runoff.

Rafsanjani, who supports dialogue with the United States, received the most votes of any Tehran candidate to win re-election to the assembly. Also re-elected was Hasan Rowhani, Iran's former top nuclear negotiator whom Ahmadinejad repeatedly accused of making too many concessions to the Europeans.

Iran started having council elections after a reform introduced in 1999 by then President Mohammed Khatami.

More than 233,000 candidates ran for more than 113,000 council seats in cities, towns and villages across the vast nation on Friday. All municipal council candidates, including some 5,000 women, were vetted by parliamentary committees dominated by hard-liners. The committees disqualified about 10,000 nominees, reports said.

12-21-2006, 07:25 PM
This is a dupe, but I'll let it go since I was just watching that retard on CNN's Headlice News tossing softballs to former Israeli Pres., and extremist Likunt member, Ben Netanyahu so uncritically --he was practically sucking his Dick...

"Sucking Dick for the Bushleaggue Administration!"

12-22-2006, 11:59 AM
Good for Iran.

Fuck that fucking loser on CNN.

He is nothing but a worthless NeoCon shitbag.

12-22-2006, 12:35 PM
So now what excuse do the Likud Zionfascists have for bombing the shit out of Iran? I'm sure they'll make something up.

Sgt Schultz
12-22-2006, 01:36 PM
Iran: Youth Leader Discusses Recent Local Elections

December 22, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The recent municipal elections in Tehran were a rejection of hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, says student activist Mohammad Hashemi. Hashemi -- a leader of Daftare Tahkim Vahdat, Iran's largest reformist student organization -- spoke recently by phone from Tehran with RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari.

RFE/RL: Some observers have said the elections showed that the people are rejecting "extremism "and that they are still in favor of reform. What do you think the message of the December 15 elections was?

Mohammad Hashemi: A coalition was formed -- including reformists -- that got together against a part of the establishment. It was similar to what happened during the [1997 election of Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami]. But the difference was that nine years after that a coalition, Iranian society had already experienced reform and that experience showed that one can't rely much on such coalitions, given that the part of the establishment that the coalition opposes is quite strong. It has all the necessary tools to control this movement.

"The vote was a 'no' to Ahmadinejad and his entourage, but it won't have a big impact on the political currents in the country," Hashemi said.

The election results show that reformists were, once again, not able to protect the votes they got. They faced serious problems right at this first step, and all of them protested against the way voting was conducted and the way the votes were counted. All of them believe there was election fraud. This happened at the first step and they will definitely face more serious problems in [the future].

I think the achievement of the elections is that the position of those who boycotted previous elections and who remained silent during last week's elections was confirmed -- in the Islamic republic's political structure one cannot really rely on election results. I think the reformists have also come to the same conclusion. From what I see and the talks I've had with them, I can say that many of them are having doubts now.

RFE/RL: You mentioned the coalition that was formed by various reformist groups. But some analysts say a new coalition is also taking shape between reformists and moderate or traditional conservatives at the expense of those described as extremists.

Hashemi: There were rumors about such a coalition, but in practice we have not seen many signs of it. Maybe there is hope they will form a coalition in the future, but it is highly unlikely. Even now you see that [moderate-conservative Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer] Qalibaf has not taken any stance regarding the reformists complaints about the elections. Therefore, you cannot expect very much that they would have a coalition in the future. Moreover, they have totally different roots. I think these two sides have decided to remain silent about each other and not to oppose each other. But I don't think the atmosphere is right for a coalition. They might reach agreement on some issues, but I don't think it would last.

RFE/RL: Now, despite what is being described as election irregularities -- or even fraud -- the moderate conservatives and reformers took most of the votes, while Ahmadinejad's supporters and those on the so-called Good Scent of Service list have been defeated -- not only in Tehran, but also in several other cities. How do you think this might affect the political situation in the country?

Hashemi: I think these developments are the results of the work of Ahmadinejad. His work in the past year has been such that it has brought opposition even from traditional conservatives within the establishment. We have seen in many cases that even legislators who used to support him are becoming critical. I don't see this as a movement. Rather, I see it as a negative view of Ahamdinejad's performance. I don't think it will bring any changes in the political [scene]. The vote was a "no" to Ahmadinejad and his entourage, but it won't have a big impact on the political currents in the country.

RFE/RL: Will it affect the government and its policies?

Hashemi: Today Ahmadinejad and the small team that works with him are alone, and the only reason the establishment doesn't act against Ahmadinejad is to prevent a crisis. Under the current conditions, Ahmadinejad cannot really take strong stances because he know he's alone within the establishment.

They are just trying to get through the remaining three years of his presidency without a crisis, since they cannot really act against him or dismiss him.

RFE/RL: How will the results affect the reformist camp? Although, as you said, they were not able to protect their votes, they were relatively successful. Do you think this will encourage them and boost their confidence?

Hashemi: I'm not very hopeful for two reasons. One is that the reformers expected they would capture more seats -- many expected that seven or eight of their candidates would become members of the [Tehran city] council. Although the relatively high turnout could have helped them, only four of their candidates were elected. In addition, they will lose some of their support because they weren't able to have healthy elections and safeguard their votes. This is one thing.

The second thing is that the main problem will come right after the new city council is formed. The reformers will not really be able to work in the new council. You know that Tehran's city government is tied to revolutionary and other bodies within the establishment. More than 80 percent of city construction projects are being done by the Revolutionary Guard. The guard would definitely not want to carry out projects for a council that is run by reformers. Therefore, the reformers would either not be able to accept responsibilities in the council and, if they do, things would get even worse because they will not be able to move forward their projects. Therefore, I don't think the reformers will be able to achieve anything through the results of the city council elections.

12-24-2006, 10:54 PM
Did you edit this post as well?