Ahmedinejad Getting "Thumped" In The Polls?

If this article is anything to go by Ahmedinejad and his uber-conservatives are going to have a bad day in Tehran. It appears that Ahmedinejad’s candidate for the Council of Experts is in sixth place while former president Rafsanjani and a leader of the Reformist coalition is leading the polls:

Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani is leading the polls of the Experts’ Assembly elections while the candidate linked to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in sixth place, several local news agencies reported on Saturday.

Some have even gone so far as to declare the election a defeat for Ahmedinejad:

Reformist activist and former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh told the Kar news agency that the Ahmadinejad camp had lost the elections. . . .

Of course, not all the ballots are in yet so we cannot be sure.

Election turnout was high for Iran, the article says 55% of eligible voters participated, noting this was a record, and also a surprise, especially because Iranians were voting “for two rather technical elections with no direct impact on political developments.”

More as it comes in.

Update: Centrist cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is running well ahead of his ultra-conservative rival Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi in elections for Iran’s Assembly of Experts, with half the votes counted, state television said.

And the semi-official MehrNews reports: The Interior Ministry announced winners in several constituencies for the 86-member Assembly of Experts. Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was leading the race in Tehran. thanks candy!

Update 2: This report says that about 30% of the Tehran voted. The article cited says this would be more than usual, three times as much as last time. But I find this hard to believe. Why? Because South Tehran is supposed to be one of Ahmedinejad’s strongholds, as it is very poor, especially the Rayy area. It’s hard to tell at this point, but what I am seeing from the official Iranian press (largely but not totally controlled or influence by Ahmedinejad’s faction) versus the international press is that this is looking like a defeat for Mahmoud. It just doesn’t look good, and it seems the domestic Iranian media is trying to keep a lid on how bad it might be.

Update 3: Of course this gets to the heart of the matter:

If the clerics in Iran were as popular as they claim, there would be no need to filter candidates and every Iranian would be allowed to stand as a candidate and to choose who they want to vote for. This however is the biggest fear of the mullahs.

This very real objection aside, is there any legitimacy in Iran’s election process? The Iranians I met with certainly felt there was.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • Rafsanjani takes lead in Iranian polls

    Centrist cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is running well ahead of his ultra-conservative rival Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi in elections for Iran’s Assembly of Experts, with half the votes counted, state television said.

    Both clerics have been standing to be one of the 16 men who will represent the Tehran province in the Assembly of Experts, the body which chooses and supervises the supreme leader.

    While the partial results indicate that both clerics will make it on to the body, the strength of Rafsanjani’s showing is a surprise after his humiliating 2005 presidential election defeat to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Mesbah Yazdi who is seen as the spiritual mentor to Ahmadinejad, was running in sixth place, according to the partial results.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1813219.htm

  • The people were the real winners: GCF spokesman
    Partial results show mixed outcome in elections

    MEHR
    TEHRAN, Dec. 16 (MNA) — The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) conducted separate interviews on Sunday with current and former officials to learn their views on people’s participation in Friday’s elections.

    Results were still being counted from elections for the Assembly of Experts — the body that chooses and supervises the supreme leader — and municipal polls.

    It is still too early to see a clear trend.

    Unofficial and partial results suggest voters backed a range of candidates, giving all political groups something to cheer about but allowing none to claim outright victory, Reuters reported.

    The Interior Ministry announced winners in several constituencies for the 86-member Assembly of Experts. Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was leading the race in Tehran.

    The Guardian Council spokesman said the turnout was around 60 percent of the 46.5 million eligible voters, which is higher than previous municipal council and Assembly of Experts elections.

    It is being predicted that Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf’s backers will get eight seats on the Tehran City Council, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s backers four, and reformists three.

    Abdolvahed Musavi Lari of the Assembly of Combatant Clerics said the massive turnout shows that Iranians have a deep understanding of the county’s political realities.

    “Some thought that only slogans about boosting the standard of living would attract people, but the people proved that they take other factors into consideration when voting,” the former interior minister added.

    The head of the Great Coalition of Fundamentalists (GCF), Mehdi Chamran, called the massive participation the greatest support for the Islamic Revolution.

    “Such a high turnout shows that the people are satisfied about the performance of the second city councils,” said Chamran, who is the current Tehran City Council chairman.

    He called the decision to hold simultaneous elections a positive test for the government because it doubled the glory of the polls.

    Islamic Coalition Party Deputy Director Assadolah Badamchian said that the polls showed that the people and the government are very close to each other.

    “The people’s enthusiasm is evidence that we have devised a relatively strong and comprehensive plan to hold sound elections,” he added.
    .

    ….

    http://www.mehrnews.ir/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=422425

  • Iran relieved at polls

    Published on: Sunday, 17th December, 2006

    Relieved Iranian authorities yesterday hailed strong turnouts in twin votes for municipal councils and a powerful clerical body that they said easily topped weak participation in previous polls. Results were still being counted from Friday’s elections for the Assembly of Experts – the body that chooses the supreme leader – and local polls which were the first test for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since taking power.

    The spokesman for the Guardians Council, the body that oversees the Assembly of Experts vote, said participation in that poll had well exceeded the last election in 1998, where turnout was just 46 per cent. “It seems that 60 per cent of the electorate participated in the elections for the Assembly of Experts,” said Abbas Ali Kadkodaie. With both elections held in tandem on the same day, a similar figure was likely for the local vote.

    “I can assure you definitely that the participation is much higher than in previous votes,” added Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, the deputy interior minister and Ahmadinejad loyalist in charge of organising Iranian elections. The previous local elections in February 2003 had proved an embarrassment for the authorities, with less than 50 per cent of voters turning up nationwide and a paltry ten per cent bothering to cast votes in the capital Tehran.

    This time, however, the turnout in the capital was around 30 per cent, three times more than in 2003.

    I’m surprised only 30% voted in Tehran, that doesn’t seem to show much faith in the municipal elections -no matter how they spin it. Does it mean Tehrani’s voted for the experts but not their own local leaders? ~ candy

  • one of Ahmedinejad’s strongholds, as it is very poor, especially the Rayy area. It’s hard to tell at this point, but what I am seeing from the official Iranian press versus (largely but not totally controllled or influence by Ahmedinejad’s faction) the international press is that this is looking like a defeat for Mahmoud. It doesn’t look good, if my reading of the tea leaves is correct.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • Dec. 16, 2006 23:16
    Polls show Ahmadinejad opponents leading in vote
    By ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Early election returns showed hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s conservative opponents leading on Saturday in elections for local councils and a powerful clerical body, according to official and unofficial results.

    Friday’s elections were widely considered the first test of public approval for Ahmadinejad, whose anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran’s nuclear program is believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him to power.

    Iranian officials have said the preliminary results for village and city councils and the Experts Assembly were expected Sunday, with final results expected Monday or later.

    But local Tehran newspapers and semi-official news agencies reported unofficial results on Saturday showing no single party would be able to claim outright victory, partly because of the divisions within the conservative faction.


    Early signs mixed in Iran vote
    Sat Dec 16, 2006 5:58 PM GMT
    Alireza Ronaghi

    TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Saturday turnout was high in elections for local councils and a powerful clerical body, with some initial reports suggesting allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might not have won resounding backing.

    But analysts said it was too early to see a clear trend in Friday’s vote, the first

    big snip

    The Interior Ministry announced winners in several constituencies for the 86-member Assembly of Experts, which appointed, supervises and can even unseat Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority.

    Winners included Ayatollah Mohammad Momen, who defeated a prominent protege of firebrand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, widely seen as the president’s spiritual mentor.

    BATTLEGROUND

    The victory by Momen in the religious centre of Qom is likely to please those who fear Mesbah-Yazdi and his allies want to dominate the assembly and use it to impose their vision of government where authority comes from God not the people’s vote.

    Mesbah-Yazdi is standing in Tehran. Two local news agencies suggested his main rival, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was leading that race. Mesbah-Yazdi was said to trail but still in a position to win one of the capital’s seats.

    These and other reports could not be confirmed

    snip

  • “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • Reports discussed here are that Iran’s Interior Ministry is confirming that the Rafsanjani coalition “has a comfortable lead in the polls of the Experts’ Assembly elections.”

  • The next presidential election will be in a year and something (1.5 earlier than expected, since parliament had cut 1.5 years of Ahmadinejad’s term). But the election that just took place could be more important — it will affect the choice of the next Supreme Leader, who has all the real powers in the country, should Khamenei die — and he’s very likely to do this very soon. Rafsanjani, who is the most clear winner of the elector, has a complicated biography, but he had called for normalization of relations with US many times.

  • Iran reformist regains influence

    Iran’s moderate former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has won election to Iran’s powerful clerical body, the Assembly of Experts, results show.

    With more than half the votes counted, Mr Rafsanjani, who was defeated in the 2005 presidential election, had a clear lead at the top of the list.

    The election – and simultaneous local polls – was seen as a test of support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Early results suggest liberals and moderates have regained some influence.

    Official results have not yet been announced in either of the two elections.

    Political revival

    Displaying what correspondents describe as a new lease of political life, Mr Rafsanjani led the poll with 1.3 million votes as counting continued.

    IRANIAN ELECTIONS

    Iranians are voting in two sets of elections

    Assembly of Experts poll: Powerful clerical body which supervises the
    Supreme Leader

    Local council polls: More than 250,000 candidates for around 100,000 seats nationwide

    46.5 million eligible voters

    He is almost half a million votes ahead of the second placed candidate.

    His main rival, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi – seen as a political mentor to President Ahmadinejad – is trailing in sixth place, but with enough votes to retain a seat on the Assembly of Experts.

    Mr Rafsanjani’s strong performance has exceeded his supporters’ expectations after his humiliating defeat in 2005, the BBC’s Sadeq Saba in Tehran says.

    The assembly of 86 theologians supervises the activities of Iran’s supreme leader and chooses his successor when he dies.

    Mr Rafsanjani’s success was helped by an unexpectedly high turnout and by a new alliance between him and the reformists, our correspondent says.

    Source BBC

  • Ahmadinejad is winner of current election, despite opposite propagandas.
    There were two separate elections:
    For Expert assembly majority winners are from conservatives not reformers although leading member is Refsanjani.
    In municipal election, conservatives ( conservatives and fundamentalists) by 2/1 are ahead of reformers so far.
    Some observers are confused with numbers of votes Rafsanjani received versus Mesbah. Mesbah has never been, never become a popular figure and indeed this is best votes he ever received in any election in Iran.
    Leader to succeed Khameniei is not Rafsanjani or Mesbah, but Ayat Javad Amoli and he is not even running…
    Here is result of Tehran council election after over million tally .
    only 3 reformers are on top 15, rest are conservatives & fundementalists….

    -مهدي چمران 352666
    2-مرتضي طلايي 316666
    3-رسول خادم ازغدي 248789
    4-هادي ساعي 238196
    5-عباس شيباني 228083
    6-حمزه شكيب 189086
    7-عليرضا دبير 184207
    8-معصومه ابتكار 146735
    9-پروين احمدي نژاد 140058
    10-احمد مسجدجامعي 137269
    11-محمدعلي نجفي128492
    12-معصومه آباد 115691
    13-خسرو دانشجو 115341
    14-حسن بيادي 114436
    15-حبيب كاشاني 110377

  • I think the press has centered on the increase in conservatives seats won over ultra conservatives as a positive sign. Why do you think Ayat Javad Amoli would succeed Khameniei?

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