Polls show Ahmadinejad opponents leading in vote

By
December 16, 2006 23:16

Early election returns showed hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conservative opponents leading on Saturday in elections for local councils and a powerful clerical body, according to official and unofficial results. Friday's elections were widely considered the first test of public approval for Ahmadinejad, whose anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran's nuclear program is believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him to power. Iranian officials have said the preliminary results for village and city councils and the Experts Assembly were expected Sunday, with final results expected Monday or later. But local Tehran newspapers and semi-official news agencies reported unofficial results on Saturday showing no single party would be able to claim outright victory, partly because of the divisions within the conservative faction.


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