The conservative rivals of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look set to win control of the Iranian parliament, according to early election results for the 290 seat parliament.
Of 197 winners announced on 2 March, at least 102 were conservatives who turned against the president when he openly challenged the authority of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The United Fundamentalists Front, a party supportive of Khamenei, has so far won more seats than any other in the parliament.
Other Khamenei supporters who won seats include parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Gholam Ali-Haddad Adel, whose daughter is married to Khamenei’s son. The president’s younger sister Parvin Ahmadinejad was defeated by a conservative rival in their hometown of Garmsar.
The results mean that Ahmadinejad is likely to face a more hostile parliament in his remaining 18 months in office and it is more likely that a Khamenei loyalist will be his successor. However, the affiliations of many independent candidates is still unclear, and they could yet emerge as supporters of Ahmadinejad. Initial figures show that the turnout on Saturday’s elections was 64 per cent. Reformists were largely absent from the vote. Final results are expected on 5 March.