January 28, 2008


Ahmadinejad Caught Between Reformists and Hardliners (Khody Akhavi, Jan 28, 2008, IPS)

The president and his allies in the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) face opposition from prominent reformists led by former President Mohammad Khatami, as well as from conservatives who expect to challenge Ahmadinejad should the president's hardline slate fail to win votes.

Khatami's coalition brings together 21 moderate parties, including the Islamic Iranian Participation Front, Khatami's Association of Combatant Clerics, and the Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran), founded by ex-cabinet members from the presidency of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. [...]

Out of an initial 7,200 prospective registered candidates, some 5,000 remain in the running, according to Ali Reza Afshar, a top Interior Ministry official. That is a significant decrease from the more than 4,000 reformist candidates disqualified in 2004 by the Guardian Council, an appointed clerical body that is only answerable to Iran's actual executive power, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. [...]

A strong showing for centrists and reformists would constitute a rejection of Ahmadinejad and his policies, which, Farhi says, have been described by critics as "expansionary, inflationary, incompetent". It would also enhance the role and stature of parliament, she said. "Everybody feels that the Seventh Majlis has been totally ineffective."

The president himself has been criticised for slowing the pace of privatisation, mismanaging the budget, and appointing incompetent bureaucrats. He has been attacked by reformists and centrists such as Rafsanjani, and must contend with conservative opponents who could exploit dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad to seem more palatable to voters.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2008 4:29 PM

Well, if I lived in Iran, I would be comforted by the fact that the Combatant Clerics and the Executives of Construction were on my side.

Khatami and Rafsanjani (and their cronies) ran the country for 12+ years. Things got worse, much more so under Khatami, which set the stage for Mahmoud.

The Iranians need reform, not retreads. Khatami had his 8 years, and Rafsanjani is probably on a par with Arafat on corruption.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 28, 2008 6:00 PM

They got more liberal, but the liberalization isn't done. They need to free up the economy.

Posted by: oj at January 28, 2008 8:53 PM