RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Landslide win for Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN: Incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was yesterday declared winner by a landslide in Iran’s presidential vote, triggering riots by opposition supporters and furious complaints of cheating from his defeated rivals.

Ahmadinejad went on television to declare the election a “great victory,” even as baton-wielding police clashed with protesters in the streets of the capital in unrest not seen for a decade.

Thousands of supporters of main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi swept through Tehran shouting “Down with the Dictator” after final results showed Ahmadinejad winning almost 62.6 percent of the vote.

Moderate ex-Premier Mousavi cried foul over election irregularities and warned the outcome of the vote could lead to “tyranny,” as some of his supporters were beaten by riot police.

Ahmadinejad rejected the allegations. “The election was completely free ... and it is a great victory,” he said in his television address.

The interior minister said Mousavi had won less than 33.75 percent of the vote, giving Ahmadinejad another four-year term in a result that dashed Western hopes of change and set the scene for a possible domestic power struggle.

Iran’s all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei welcomed Ahmadinejad’s victory and urged the country to unite behind him after the most heated election campaign since the 1979 revolution.

Khamenei described Ahmadinejad’s victory as a “feast.” “The enemies may want to spoil the sweetness of this event ... with some kind of ill-intentioned provocations,” he said. “The president elect is the president of the entire Iranian nation and ... all should support and help him.”

Mousavi protested at what he described as “numerous and blatant irregularities” in the vote which officials said attracted a record turnout of around 85 percent of the 46 million electorate.

“No one can imagine such rigging, with the world watching, from a government which holds commitment to Shariah-based justice as one of its basic pillars,” said Mousavi in a letter posted on his campaign website.

“What we have seen from dishonest (election) officials will result in shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic system, and a dominance of lying and tyranny,” he said in a separate statement.

In the heart of Tehran, thousands of Mousavi supporters voiced their disbelief and frustration at the results, with some throwing stones at police who struck back with batons.

Angry crowds first emerged near Mousavi’s campaign office in central Tehran, where protesters were hit with sticks as riot police on motorbikes moved in to break up the gathering. “They have ruined the country and they want to ruin it more over the next four years,” shouted an irate mob outside Mousavi’s office.

Plumes of dark smoke streaked over the city, as burning barricades of tires and garbage bins glowed orange in the streets. Protesters also torched an empty bus, engulfing it in flames on a Tehran street. An Associated Press photographer saw a plainclothes security official beating a woman with his truncheon.

There were no immediate reports of violence elsewhere in the county.

Reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi, who came a distant fourth with less than one percent of the vote after ex-Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai, also declared the result “illegitimate and unacceptable.”

The White House said it was monitoring the reports of irregularities, while Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said he was “deeply concerned” about the allegations. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped the result of the election “reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.” In Moscow, the chairman of the Duma (Parliament) Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev hoped for more “understanding and wisdom” from

Ahmadinejad in the new term.

The Hamas movement praised the results, saying they proved the “success” of the incumbent government and were a victory for Iranian democracy. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez telephoned Ahmadinejad to congratulate him.

The victory “represents the feeling and commitment of the Iranian people to building a new world,” Chavez said in a statement.

Source : Agencies

No comments: