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  #1  
Old 02-29-2012, 06:59 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Iranian parliamentary election 03/02/12: More interesting than you might think

Even though all reformist opposition has been put down hard, and kept off the ballots:

Quote:
With the virtual absence of the reformist coalition from the race, analysts believe the election has turned into a contest between factions within the increasingly divided conservatives.

“The elections are significant because they are a test for the government, that is to say, the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] and Ahmadinejad, to see whether they have the backing of the majority of the Iranian people after the troubles and crackdown that happened two-and-a-half years ago,” Sadegh Zibakalam, a professor of political science in Tehran University, told Al Jazeera.

“It is actually a bitter contest between Ahmadinejad on the one hand, and the more conservative hardliners - the principlists.”
Dig it. This is a political world where Ahmadinejad is the liberal.

And the level of voter turnout also will be significant:

Quote:
Voter turnout will be closely watched, as it is considered an important indicator of how much of the country backs the conservatives, who dominated the outgoing assembly.

“In a sense it is also important for the opposition because a huge turnout would mean the people are not really supporting the opposition, namely the reformists,” Zibakalam said.

A high turnout could also provide a boost for a government under tremendous pressure, both domestically and internationally. Unemployment remains high, and international sanctions over the country’s nuclear programme has further increased economic pressure.

In the lead up to the vote, Khamenei has repeatedly stressed the importance of a high turnout to counter conspiracies from the "enemy", a term usually reserved for the US and Israel, but expanded in its scope recently.
Always ominous, when that term expands in scope . . .

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 02-29-2012 at 07:01 PM..
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  #2  
Old 02-29-2012, 09:04 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Ahmadi has always been more populist than hard-right, no? Why is this surprising to people?
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:21 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
Ahmadi has always been more populist than hard-right, no? Why is this surprising to people?
I think his image in the West is based more on his notorious jackass inflammatory remarks about the Holocaust, homosexuals, etc., than on awareness of his overall policy vision. There's a popular perception that "OMG AHMADINEJAD = WACKO NUTJOB THEOCRAT", and it's hard to imagine anything more hard-right than that.

Actually, ISTM, Ahmadinejad is a garden-variety corrupt-thug politician who strategically uses reactionary bigotry to provoke anti-Iranian reactions and thus generate solidarity. It doesn't work all that well because a lot of Iranians still despise him, but it probably works better than anything else he's capable of.

That said, it does have to be noted that Ahmadinejad has described himself as a "principlist" or supporter of Islamist-right doctrine. AFAICT, he's tiffing with more conventional hard-liners at the moment not because he secretly harbors liberal/reformist convictions but because his most fundamental conviction seems to be "Ahmadinejad Is the Boss", which they oppose on the grounds that "Ayatollah Khamenei Is the Boss".

So I think the OP is somewhat off the mark when he says that Ahmadinejad is "the liberal" in this contest: rather, the liberals are out of the picture and it's an intranecine catfight within the religious right.

Last edited by Kimstu; 03-01-2012 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:01 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
That said, it does have to be noted that Ahmadinejad has described himself as a "principlist" or supporter of Islamist-right doctrine. AFAICT, he's tiffing with more conventional hard-liners at the moment not because he secretly harbors liberal/reformist convictions but because his most fundamental conviction seems to be "Ahmadinejad Is the Boss", which they oppose on the grounds that "Ayatollah Khamenei Is the Boss".
Those two are going to have to have it out one of these days . . . but I don't think the coming election-day is the day.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:15 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
That said, it does have to be noted that Ahmadinejad has described himself as a "principlist" or supporter of Islamist-right doctrine. AFAICT, he's tiffing with more conventional hard-liners at the moment not because he secretly harbors liberal/reformist convictions but because his most fundamental conviction seems to be "Ahmadinejad Is the Boss", which they oppose on the grounds that "Ayatollah Khamenei Is the Boss".

So I think the OP is somewhat off the mark when he says that Ahmadinejad is "the liberal" in this contest: rather, the liberals are out of the picture and it's an intranecine catfight within the religious right.
I stand corrected.
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2012, 05:46 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Reformists, in fact, are calling for an election boycott. It will be interesting to see the voter-turnout figures . . . and to see whether they are disputed.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:20 PM
foolsguinea foolsguinea is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
Reformists, in fact, are calling for an election boycott. It will be interesting to see the voter-turnout figures . . . and to see whether they are disputed.
Their candidates were forbidden to run, apparently. What are they to do?
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2012, 09:41 PM
Qin Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huangdi is offline
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The principalists are arguably safer, I believe it is they who oppose the development of nukes by Iran.
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  #9  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:29 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
The principalists are arguably safer, I believe it is they who oppose the development of nukes by Iran.
Why? (Serious question; I can think of plenty of good reasons, but those reasons might or might not make sense to these "principalists.")
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:22 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by Qin Shi Huangdi View Post
The principalists are arguably safer, I believe it is they who oppose the development of nukes by Iran.
Huh? Says who? Since when? It's my understanding that the principlists generally support the nuclear program as a sign of nationalistic and ideological defiance as well as a potential pragmatic deterrent to attack by a foreign enemy.
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  #11  
Old 03-03-2012, 06:16 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Update: And it looks like a general victory for the Khameneist factions.
Quote:
Reformists were virtually absent from the ballot, showing the crushing force of crackdowns on the opposition. Instead, Friday's elections became a referendum on Ahmadinejad's political stature after he tried to challenge the near-total authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to decide critical government policies such as intelligence and foreign affairs.

The apparent setbacks for Ahmadinejad's backers, according to early results, could signal a decisive blow in the internal political conflicts and give hard-liners an even stronger voice in Iran's showdowns over its nuclear program.

The results also greatly reduce Ahmadinejad's leverage to have a protege clear the ruling clerics' election vetting process and become a candidate to succeed him in mid-2013. It now seems likely that only staunch Khamenei loyalists could be in the running.

"It appears that the era of `Ahmadinejadism' in Iran's political history is gradually coming to an end," said prominent Tehran-based political analyst Davoud Hermidas Bavand.
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  #12  
Old 05-05-2012, 10:28 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Ahmadinejad trounced in runoff vote:

Quote:
TEHRAN, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's support in Iran's parliament crumbled as final results released Saturday showed conservative rivals consolidating their hold on the legislative body in a runoff vote.

Iran has touted a robust turnout for Friday's vote as a show of support for the country's religious leadership in its confrontation with the West over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program.

The result is also a new humiliation for Ahmadinejad, whose political decline started last year with his bold but failed challenge of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the choice of intelligence chief.

While usually in agreement with the conservatives on foreign policy and many other issues, he had tried to change the rules of the political game in Iran, where the president and legislature are subordinate to religious figures like Khamenei.

<snip>

The new parliament will begin its sessions in late May. It has no direct control over key foreign and security policy matters like Iran's nuclear program, but it can influence those issues and economic policies as well as the run-up to the election of Ahmadinejad's successor. Ahmadinejad is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive four-year term.

The results suggest Ahmadinejad will face a more belligerent parliament in the remaining time of his second four-year term in office that ends August 2013. His allies are likely to be ousted from key posts, and his plan to cut economic subsidies challenged.
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