Ahmadinejad Supporters Lose in Local Elections

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s party apparently lost some local elections.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faced electoral embarrassment today after the apparent failure of his supporters to win control of key local councils and block the political comeback of his most powerful opponent. Early results from last Friday’s election suggested that his Sweet Scent of Service coalition had won just three out of 15 seats on the symbolically important Tehran city council, foiling Mr Ahmadinejad’s plan to oust the mayor and replace him with an ally.

The outcome appeared to be mirrored elsewhere, with councils throughout Iran returning a majority of reformists and moderate fundamentalists opposed to Mr Ahmadinejad.

Were Iran a democracy, this would be significant news indeed. Since the mullahs will continue to wield all meaningful political power, however, I will not get overly excited.

Incidentally, I’m sure “Sweet Scent of Service” is far wimpier sounding than its Persian original, although it is still a funny name for a political coalition.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Were Iran a democracy

    Didn’t we just have a handy checklist for that? I suspect Iran scores favorably as against, say, Iraq.

    (More seriously: if a majority of the people are satisfied with their authoritarian regime, what do we call that, exactly?)

  2. James Joyner says:

    The thing in Iran is that the mullahs make public policy decisions and have for 27 years. It’s institutionalize in the way they operate.

    And there’s not much evidence of which I’m aware that the Iranians are satisfied with the ayatollahs. Whenever they get a chance to vote, they go with the reformers. It just doesn’t matter.

  3. Anderson says:

    Well, I won’t be renouncing my U.S. citizenship to go live in the Iranian paradise anytime soon, taxes or no — let’s just put it that way.

    But it’s pretty obvious that the mullahs aren’t going to retain their power indefinitely. The best thing that could happen for them would be a war with the U.S. or a Sunni rival … would the regime even still be around, were it not for the 1980s war with Iraq?