Iran: Implications of Ahmadinejad’s Parliamentary Defeat


Stratfor Global Intelligence Reports

The results of Iran’s May 4 parliamentary runoff elections showed a strong defeat for the nationalist conservative faction led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Of the 65 seats in contention, pro-Ahmadinejad candidates won only 13. Candidates aligned with Iran’s clerical leadership, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won 41, and independents won 11. The runoff results, combined with the results of the March 6 general elections, give the pro-clerical establishment United Front of Conservatives coalition, led by parliamentary speaker and Khamenei ally Ali Larijani, 98 seats in the 290-member parliament. The pro-Ahmadinejad Stability Front of the Islamic Revolution has 43, with other political parties and independents taking the rest.

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after casting his ballot in Tehran for the parliamentary election runoff on May 4

The results of Iran’s May 4 parliamentary runoff elections showed a strong defeat for the nationalist conservative faction led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Of the 65 seats in contention, pro-Ahmadinejad candidates won only 13. Candidates aligned with Iran’s clerical leadership, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won 41, and independents won 11. The runoff results, combined with the results of the March 6 general elections, give the pro-clerical establishment United Front of Conservatives coalition, led by parliamentary speaker and Khamenei ally Ali Larijani, 98 seats in the 290-member parliament. The pro-Ahmadinejad Stability Front of the Islamic Revolution has 43, with other political parties and independents taking the rest.

Ahmadinejad has become a threat to the hegemony of Iran’s clerical leadership, but Khamenei has been able to contain the president using advantages given to the supreme lea by the Iranian Constitution. The electoral defeat will lead to stronger parliamentary push back against the president’s appointees and initiatives during his last two years in office.

Notably, the elections saw 19 total parliamentary seats going to candidates unaffiliated with any party. These include unknowns who secretly support Ahmadinejad, true independents and reformists who ran as independents since most open reformists were barred from running. Ahmadinejad’s faction may attempt to win support from these new lawmakers, but regardless of how they vote, their numbers are not enough to allow the embattled president to counter his cleric-backed rivals.

The Iranian parliament already had moved to leverage its advantage ahead of the runoff elections, stripping Ahmadinejad of his presidential oversight of Iran’s state-owned energy assets and the banks. It also began a series of judicial proceedings against Ahmadinejad appointees. This likely will continue with the placement of Khamenei’s inner circle into key government positions as the supreme leader prepares for Ahmadinejad to step down in 2014 and readies an ally to replace him.

One such move could involve the parliamentary speakership position. If Khamenei attempted to nominate his son-in-law and former speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, it would free Larijani to run for president in 2013. Facing a weakened populist conservative base and a structurally fragmented reformist party, Larijani would have a better chance of winning than he did in his previous attempt in 2005.

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3 responses to “Iran: Implications of Ahmadinejad’s Parliamentary Defeat

  1. Confusing, is this a good thing??????

  2. It’s good to note that most Iranians don’t want to se their coiuntry blown off the map just so that moron and his ayatollahs can wet-dream about their mythical 12th Imam.

    Of course, this strong sign from the Iranian public just might MAKE Ahmadiejad kick off Armageddon… while he still has some power left to do it.

  3. If Ahmadinejad led a “conservative faction”, we certainly have to wonder what the rest will be like. I shudder to even think about it!

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