Ahmadinejad faces obstacles in winning re-election

June 11th, 2009 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Tehran, June 11 (DPA) Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known abroad mainly for provoking tension with the West, are confident he could reach his goal of winning another four-year term, but economic trouble at home might prove a major hurdle for the incumbent.
Ahmadinejad, one of four candidates in Friday’s presidential elections, was widely unknown before he unexpectedly became Iran’s president in June 2005. Since then, his ongoing provocation of the West have brought Iran to the brink of international isolation.

The 52-year-old who was born in the city of Garmsar in central Iran is a leading hardliner who has the support of the powerful clergy, state media and Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy has created much controversy. Not only has he ignored demands from the international community over Iran’s nuclear programme, but he has also sparked worldwide outrage with his comments concerning Israel and the Holocaust.

He has blatantly threatened, with the help of Palestinian militants, to wipe Israel off the map and drive the Jewish state’s inhabitants to Europe or the United States.

Ahmadinejad has also expressed doubt over the extent of the Holocaust, describing the mass killing of Jews in World War II as a “fairy tale.”

Although he has been labelled a radical, Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian president in decades to seek dialogue with the country’s archenemy, the United States.

He twice invited former US president George W. Bush to a public debate but was ignored.

He also became the first Iranian leader to reach out to a US counterpart when he sent Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama, a congratulatory message after his November election victory and another invitation for a debate.

Ahmadinejad’s bid for re-election was not expected to be easy. When it comes to Iran’s economy, especially, he is seen to have failed.

His election promise of economic reforms that would favour the poor had earned him the nickname as the “Islamic Robin Hood.”

But in office, Iranians’ hopes of better economic times quickly dissipated. In contrast to his campaign pledge, inflation has risen rapidly, Iran’s rich have become richer and its poor, poorer.

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