Like many members of Iran’s paramilitary volunteer force, Mohammadreza Baqeri was a supporter of Iran’s conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nearly three years after Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election, the 27-year-old blogger says he will not vote for Ahminadejad’s camp in parliamentary elections on Friday. “I want new faces. I want a vocal parliament that can have an impact in the country,” said Baqeri, a member of the Basij paramilitary force. “I want a parliament with young and ambitious lawmakers.”
From a working-class background, Ahmadinejad scaled the heights of Iranian politics through promises to help Iran’s devout and impoverished masses. Until recently, he was hailed as a protector of the less fortunate who invested considerable hope in a man few people had heard of before his election in 2005. His traditionalist, populist outlook also endeared him to young Iranian conservatives, like Baqeri, who were eager to find their role in the future of the Islamic Republic.
With more than two-thirds of the population under the age of 30, it was a crucial support base and one that Ahmadinejad is desperate to retain. But since then things have not gone so well. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed his disputed re-election in 2009, a ballot the opposition said was rigged. A rift developed soon after. The spat came to the fore after Ahmadinejad sacked his intelligence minister, only for the Supreme Leader to reinstate him.
Full Article: Key constituencies disillusioned as Iran votes | Reuters.