“Ahmadinejad facing opposition from conservatives, reformists, voters”

“Ahmadinejad facing opposition from conservatives, reformists, voters”
June 3-9, 2009
     Borzou Daragahi reports that reformists and conservatives, concerned with Iran’s economy and international isolation, are united in supporting Mir-Hossein Mousavi over incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Friday’s election. Daragahi describes Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president and chairman of both the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts, as the “brain” behind the elite movement against Ahmadinejad, which also includes prominent conservatives close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (Los Angeles Times).
     In a detailed history of Iran’s political party structures, Walter Posch writes that Ahmadinejad disappointed his conservative backers in the 2005 elections, who initially expected him to act on their behalf, by making his own political appointments and forging a strong presence in foreign affairs. Posch argues that Ahmadinejad continues to wrest power from the entrenched conservative elite and yet manages to obtain enough institutional support whenever necessary (Middle East Institute).
     Scott Peterson suggests Ahmadinejad may also be losing his strong support in Iran’s underdeveloped provinces despite regular campaigning and cash handouts (Christian Science Monitor). According to Zahra Hosseinian, anti-Ahmadinejad sentiment may lead to higher turnouts of young voters, although their votes will likely be split between Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. An unnamed Iranian analyst refers to the election as “a referendum on Ahmadinejad” (Reuters). Mazier Bahari reports that a secret government poll finds that 16-18 million Iranians say they will vote for Mousavi while only 6-8 million say they support Ahmadinejad. Bahari writes that even Khamenei may be distancing himself from Ahmadinejad, citing Khamenei’s recent critique of candidates engaging in “dirty politics,” which Bahari interprets as a reference to Ahmadinejad (Newsweek).
Los Angeles Times | Middle East Institute | Christian Science Monitor | Reuters | Newsweek


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