Spuds of wrath: potatoes-for-votes protest blights Iranian election
Guardian / Robert Tait

"Death to potatoes" ("marg bar sibzamini" in Farsi) has been adopted as a mantra by anti-Ahmadinejad campaigners in Iran's forthcoming presidential election. Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who has positioned himself to woo the reformist vote, chanted the slogan this week at a rally in Yasouj in central Iran.

Demonstrators were rallying against the government's policy of giving away free potatoes in what Ahmadinejad's opponents brand a blatant attempt to buy votes and distract attention from an economy blighted by high inflation and rising unemployment. Ahmadinejad's presidency has been marked by discontent over the increasing cost of basic food and vegetables.

Officials say the great potato giveaway was prompted by a surplus resulting from a bumper crop.

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