Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Early returns from Iran

Ahmadinejad rivals cement lead in Iran parliament
Conservative rivals of Iran's president claimed control of parliament Sunday with more than two-thirds of the seats decided from elections handing the ruling Islamic establishment near seamless control in the escalating nuclear standoff with the West.

The outcome also puts an emphatic stamp on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political tumble after he dared to challenge Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over his power to direct key government affairs such as foreign policy and intelligence…

In Iran, hard-liners were claiming victory in the parliamentary elections, though vote-counting continues.

Out of 216 winners that emerged by Sunday, at least 112 were conservatives who turned against Ahmadinejad after he openly challenged Khamenei's authority last year. Also elected were six independent candidates opposed to Ahmadinejad.

The remaining seats were split between Ahmadinejad supporters and centrists, some of whom could side with the anti-Ahmadinejad bloc. At least 23 races will have to be decided in runoffs. Reformists were virtually absent from the ballots, highlighting the intense crackdowns since the mass protests after Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009…

The final results are not expected until Tuesday, but the partial count was enough for Ahmadinejad's opponents to boast of a landslide victory…

Reformists were virtually absent from the ballot, showing the crushing force of crackdowns on the opposition. Instead, Friday's elections became a referendum on Ahmadinejad's political stature after he tried to challenge the near-total authority of Khamenei to decide critical government policies such as intelligence and foreign affairs.

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