Iranian conservatives consolidate control of parliament in run-off elections

According to partial results, Ahmadinejad's supporters win 12 seats, his conservative critics 7, reformists 12 and independents 25.

Ahmadinejad votes 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ahmadinejad votes 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Conservatives consolidated their control of Iran's legislature in run-off parliamentary elections, according to partial results announced Saturday by state media. Out of 82 seats included in Friday's run-off, 56 have produced final results, said Iranian state television and the official news agency IRNA. Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won 12 seats, his conservative critics seven, reformists 12 and independents 25. Conservatives also looked well-placed to pick up 10 seats and reformists one in the capital Teheran, according to partial results provided by state media. Conservatives won 132 seats in the first round of voting in March, meaning they would maintain a majority in the 290-seat parliament after the run-off elections. However, moderate conservatives opposing Ahmadinejad are emerging as a stronger block, highlighting growing discontent with the president's fiery style and his failure to repair the country's ailing economy. They won 42 of the seats taken by conservatives in the first round. Reformists, who call for reducing clerical powers and support greater economic and social tolerance, have also managed to win a respectable minority bloc despite the government barring many of their candidates from running in the elections. They won 31 seats in the first round of voting even though the cleric-run Guardian Council disqualified some 1,700 candidates, most of them reformists accused of insufficient loyalty to Islam and the 1979 revolution. Independents won 39 seats in the first round of voting. Turnout for Friday's run-off vote in the capital Teheran appeared to be low, generally a good thing for conservatives because they usually enjoy the support of traditional religious families that almost always vote. Reformists, who could only run in about half the races around the country, say the elections are neither free nor fair because so many candidates have been prevented from participating.