Khamenei allies trounce Ahmadinejad in Iran election

By REUTERS
March 4, 2012 12:34

 
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TEHRAN - Loyalists of Iran's paramount clerical leader have won over 75 percent of seats in parliamentary elections, a near-complete count showed, largely reducing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a lame duck in a contest between conservative hardline factions.

The outcome of Friday's vote, largely shunned by reformists whose leaders are under house arrest, will have no major impact on Iran's foreign policy including its nuclear dispute with the West. But it will give Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's camp a significant edge in the 2013 presidential election.

The widespread defeat of Ahmadinejad's supporters was likely to erode the authority of the president, under fire from Khamenei's allies for challenging the utmost authority of the supreme leader in Iran's multi-layered ruling hierarchy.

With 90 percent of ballot boxes counted, Khamenei acolytes were expected to occupy more than three-quarters of the 290 seats in the Majlis (parliament), according to a list published by the interior ministry.

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