Friday, 4 May 2012

Iran Holds Parliamentary Election Runoffs

Iranians are voting in a second round of parliamentary elections which are expected to see opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad make further gains.

State TV mentioned 130 candidates had been competing in run-off votes for 65 seats inside the 290-seat Majlis, including 25 on the 30 seats in the money, Tehran.

Conservative opponents from the president won a majority in March's very first round.

The parliament lacks executive power but will play a part in choosing his successor prior to next year's election.

In the previous year, allies of Mr. Ahmadinejad have already been removed from important federal government posts, weakening his influence.

This followed a failed attempt by the president in April 2011 to assert his authority against Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Speaking to reporters immediately after casting his vote on Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei called to get a high turnout. Officially, it was 64% in March.

"My advice is that folks take the run-off as seriously as the first round," he said. "The higher the number of votes for lawmakers... the better they can work."

All of your candidates had to be pre-approved by Iran's Guardian Council, which means the contests are effectively between different conservative factions - supporters with the Supreme Leader and Mr. Ahmadinejad.

The leaders from the opposition Green Movement have already been under house arrest for over a year and were barred from taking part in the elections.

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