Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to have suffered his first major political setback, as early results from last week’s election start to come in. Ahmadinejad’s Sweet Scent of Service coalition won only three of Tehran’s 15 city council seats, while reformists and moderate conservatives enjoyed electoral success nationwide.
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faced electoral embarrassment [Monday] 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.
Compounding his setback was the success of Hashemi Rafsanjani, an influential pragmatist and fierce critic of the president’s radical policies. Mr. Rafsanjani—whom Mr. Ahmadinejad defeated in last year’s presidential election—received the most votes in elections to the experts’ assembly, a clerical body empowered to appoint and remove Iran’s supreme leader. By contrast, Ayatollah Mohammed Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presumed spiritual mentor, came sixth.