Ahmadinejad confronts an Iran looking for change within the continuity

Issue 854 - 30 May 2009 | 4 minute read

Given half a chance, Iranians will vote against the establishment – not just in disaffected urban areas, but in the countryside (where incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is widely believed to have the edge), and even within the ruling elite, whose members may swap from faction to faction while maintaining staunch support for Iran’s velayat-e faqih system of clerical rule. Ahmadinejad has made a global career by presenting himself as an underdog – a status that tends to attract Iranian voters (as the reformist Mohammad Khatami found when he beat conservative rivals in 1997). But he has other elite ‘underdogs’ to compete with.

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