Saturday, July 02, 2005

Xinhua - English

Xinhua - English: "Ahmadinejad plays class, religion cards to win Iran's presidential election 2005-07-01 08:43:15
TEHRAN, July 1 (Xinhuanet) -- The shock raised by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's unexpected triumph in the presidential election has faded away, and local analysts, who have soon recovered from the stun, have begun probing into the reasoning cause of the dark horse's success.

Ahmadinejad has excellently played the "class card" and "religion card" since the country is seeing increasingly wider gap between the rich and the poor, said the analysts.

The run-off between humble-looking Ahmadinejad and his alleged wealthy rival, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been viewed by analysts as a contest between different social classes they represent.

Before the run-off voting on June 24, public opinion polls all pointed favorably to Rafsanjani, who had been the front runner of the race for months.

Rafsanjani was hailed due to his pragmatic minds in both domestic and diplomatic affairs and newly adopted open attitude toward the youth.

The former president was generally supported by the middle and upper classes, which could be vaguely classified into the congregation of "rich people" according to the sociological paradigm of Iran.

The rich people, having obtained freedom from worries over bread and shelter, are looking forward to the freedom in social meaning. They backed the rumor-riddled Rafsanjani just because they disagreed with Ahmadinejad to a greater extent.

However, a large number of the rich, deeply dissatisfied with the current situation, refused to vote in the two rounds of elections, which weakened Rafsanjani and other reformist candidates.

On the other hand, Ahmadinejad is warmly loved by the country'spoor people, who account for a much greater part of Iran's population and were convinced of the claim that the humble-lookingblacksmith's son could lead them to a better life.

Moreover, Ahmadinejad promised to reallocate the huge profit ofoil in the campaign, which many people said will benefit just someinterest groups for now.

He termed the move as his first battle to promote social justice. Such a pledge has been proven to be more attractive than the empty slogan of "social justice" shouted by other conservativecandidates.

The poor, especially those in remote countryside, had few chances to show their appreciation of Ahmadinejad in various polls,but they had ballots. This is an important factor ignored before but discovered after the election by many analysts and predictors.

Ahmadinejad's another hunk share of votes came from loyal religious people, who have already been extremely intolerant of the loosening of some religious restrictions upon people's life bythe outgoing reformist President Mohammad Khatami during the past eight years.

The conservative religious Iranians expect a hardliner to drag the country's atmosphere back to the fundamentalist stage. Ahmadinejad's ultra-conservative image built up during his term ofoffice as Tehran mayor and his slogan of defending the Islamic laws and morals during the campaign made him popular among the conservatives and favored by top mullahs in the country.

The victory of Ahmadinejad indeed revealed a fact that the ultra-conservative politics still enjoy a considerable market in the Islamic Republic, which analysts said should not be ignored inthe future.

The successful play of class card and religion card at a critical juncture of time has brought an unknown mayor to the postof president.

It has provoked the contemplations on Iran's true situation andthe Iranian people's real want, a more vivid picture veiled from the world by inaccurate and inadequate presentation of media.

However, the president-elect cannot rely on these two cards after his assumption of power because the image of pauper hero andapologist is far from enough to be a good president.

The lucky man, as local media termed, shoulders more expectations now, stressed the analysts."