Conservatives win second round of elections in Iran

April 26th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by admin  

Tehran, April 26 (DPA) The conservatives have won the second round of Iranian parliamentary elections and expanded their absolute majority in the legislative body, state media reported Saturday. Due to low voter turnout of around 25 percent, in the capital Tehran reportedly even less, the results for the remaining 82 of the total 290 seats were announced sooner than expected.

The conservatives had secured 60 percent in the first round of elections held March 14 and expanded their domination after the second round by at least a further five percent.

The conservatives also dominate the politically important Tehran constituency, where only one of the 30 seats is to go to Labour Party leader Ali-Reza Mahjoub.

The reformists, close to the two former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, have right from the beginning had little chance as most of their top candidates were rejected by the Guardian Council, an ultra conservative watchdog for the ideological qualifications of the candidates.

According to the press estimations, the reformists even failed to realise their minimum aim of 30 percent and gained less than 20 percent of the 290 seats.

The rest went to the so-called independent candidates who do not belong to any particular political faction.

Despite the clear victory for the conservatives, observers do not interpret the results as a victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the new conservative faction headed by former chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is considered to be highly critical of the president, especially his economic policies.

The pro Larijani bloc claim to have gained the majority of the seats in the new legislative period, but there is no impartial confirmation yet for this claim.

Even the bloc believed to have been pro-Ahmadinejad and headed by Parliamentary Speaker Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel is expected to have a more critical approach towards the president and check his economic planning meticulously.

Criticism against Ahmadinejad has once again increased after the inflation rate ranging between 20 to 30 percent. This further increased after the Persian New Year (March 21), although the president has several times promised to improve the economic situation in the New Year.

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