US Department of State said the Iran's presidential election indicated that Iran was a far cry from democracy as opposed to such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq
The ultraconservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, won in the runoff of the presidential election. His victory means that conservatives have now taken command of all the government structures in Iran. The president-elect will assume the office in August to become the first secular president of Iran for the last 24 years.
Mr. Ahmadinejad won 62.2 percent of all the votes cast. His rival, Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani won 35.3 percent of the votes. The turnout was 47 percent as opposed to 63 percent in the first round. Voters in the provinces assured the victory of Mr. Ahmadinejad. By all appearances, they liked his conservative attitude and promises to clamp down on corruption and improve living standards for the millions. Mr. Ahmadinejad repeatedly stated that he would combat “corrupting influences” of the West. Mr. Ahmadinejad shut down a Western fast-food restaurant chain in Tehran when he was the mayor of the city. He was considered an unlikely winner before the election. However, he managed to leave five competitors behind and became a runner-up in the first round.
Mr. Rafsanjani's supporters said earlier that Mr. Ahmadinejad could only win if the election was rigged. The reformers also accused the Iranian army and security services of plotting a conspiracy to install the ultraconservative candidate at the helm.
US Department of State said the Iran's presidential election indicated that Iran was a far cry from democracy as opposed to such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq. The State Department representative said that the election had been rigged because more than a thousand candidates including 93 female candidates had been banned from registration.
The opposition demanded that the vote be recounted and runoff be postponed. The authorities agreed to the first demand while rejecting the second one. The Interior Ministry arrested 25 people in connection with violations during the first round. The police promised not to allow any violations at the polling stations in the runoff.
Iranian Ministry of Culture expressed its discontent on several occasions with regard to coverage provided by the local media during the election campaign. Last Saturday an article titled “Ahmadinejad scores a decisive victory: the people did their job” was published by one of the ultraconservative newspapers hours before the final results of the runoff were made public. The election campaign divided the Iranian public and highlighted the economic problems of society. Iran's president is in charge of executive power while the country's spiritual leader is regarded the head of state. The top post is currently held by ayatollah Ali Hamaneyi who described the election outcome as a “total humiliation” of the United States. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he would no allow society to split up. He called for unity and said he was going to build a model state based on principles of “modern, advanced, and strong Islamic government.”
On the photo: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad