Khamenei factions look set to dominate in Iran vote

May 4, 2012 19:37


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DUBAI - Iranians voted on Friday in a run-off parliamentary election in which allies of hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hoped to complete victory over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative increasingly criticized by the clerical elite.

Khamenei's expected majority is likely to mean a tougher final year for Ahmadinejad in his second and last term.

With reformists mostly sidelined and opposition leaders under house arrest, the vote is a test of the popularity of Khamenei's clerical establishment rather than an opportunity for fundamental change in the way the Islamic Republic is run.

Sixty-five of parliament's 290 seats are being contested after Khamenei loyalists led the first round in March. More than 50 percent of seats have already been filled by new members, including a large number of independents, so the Iranian Majles is undergoing an extensive face-lift.

The election will have no major impact on Tehran's nuclear row with the West or its foreign affairs, which are already determined by Khamenei.

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