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Asia-pacific

Conservatives dominate Iran parliament after polls

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-06

Results of nationwide parliamentary elections, the first held in Iran since 2009, show conservatives dominating the country's parliament. How many of the 196 new members of parliament will support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains unclear.

AFP - Iran's 290-member legislature will be dominated by conservatives but the extent of support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains unclear, according to results of a run-off election released on Sunday by media.

Experts said the final shape of the new parliament, or Majlis, would depend on how "independent" lawmakers and those endorsed by the two leading conservative groups align themselves when it convenes at the end of this month.

And the election of 196 new faces only adds to the uncertainty, they say.

The March 2 first round of the vote saw conservative lawmakers easily triumph, with 65 seats remaining undecided.

The run-off vote held on Friday did not change the political direction of the conservative chamber that pledges fealty to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with the United Conservatives Front and the Front of Islamic Revolution's Endurance winning a combined 44 seats, Fars news agency said.

The United Front, which is critical of Ahmadinejad, will have a total of 65 seats in the new parliament while the Endurance has emerged with a total of 25.

Another 61 lawmakers have simultaneously been endorsed by both groups while other conservative factions managed to win 15 seats.

Reformist candidates, who had mainly boycotted the elections, lost most of their 60 seats in the assembly. They now will only field 21 representatives, including two won on Friday, in the new assembly.

The legislature will also welcome 98 MPs who ran on "independent" tickets, many of whom are unknown but at least a dozen identify themselves as conservative. And five deputies are from the recognised minority Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian faiths.

Experts say that it will not be clear until parliament meets exactly how much support Ahmadinejad can command.

The vote on March 2 was the first nationwide election held in Iran since 2009, when Ahmadinejad held on to power based on disputed results that provoked widespread protests and a severe crackdown by authorities, in particular against reformists.

Date created : 2012-05-06

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