Ahmadinejad’s opponents win local elections in Iran

Ahmadinejad’s opponents win local elections in Iran

Tehran, Dec 21. (AP): Final results today showed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opponents have won the elections for local councils in Iran, an embarrassing blow to the hard-line leader.

Moderate conservatives opposed to Ahmadinejad won a majority of the seats followed by reformists who were suppressed by hard-liners in 2004, according to final results from Friday’s local elections announced by the Interior Ministry.

The vote is widely seen as a sign of public discontent with Ahmadinejad’s hard-line stances, which have fueled fights with the West and led Iran closer to UN sanctions.

Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme are believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him into power last year.

Some conservatives feel Ahmadinejad has spent too much time confronting the United States and its allies and failed to deal with Iran’s struggling economy.

The voting also represented a partial comeback for reformists, who favour 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 wrestling champion Ali Reza Dabir, who won a gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and is considered an independent.

Final results for the rest of the country also showed a heavy defeat for Ahmadinejad supporters, and analysts said his allies won less than 20 per cent of local council seats nationwide.

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