May 5, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Durango Herald "Ahmadinejad rivals win seats in Iran runoff"

"Partial results for an Iranian parliamentary runoff election announced Saturday show supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reduced to a small fraction of the legislature, hugely outnumbered by the conservatives who once backed him but then turned against him after he was perceived to challenge the authority of top clerics.

Iran has touted the turnout for Friday's vote as a show of support for the country's religious leadership in their confrontation with the West over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

It also represents another blow against the populist president who, while usually in agreement with the conservatives on foreign policy and many other issues, had tried to change the rules of the political game in the Islamic Republic, where the president and legislature are subordinate to religious figures like Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khanenei.

The new parliament will begin its sessions in late May. It has no direct control over major policy matters like Iran's nuclear program, but it can influence the run-up to the election of Ahmadinejad's successor in 2013.

Of 65 seats for grabs in Friday's runoff election, Ahmadinejad's opponents won 20 while the president's supporters got only 8 seats. Independents won 11, according to the state media early Saturday...."
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