Ahmadinejad foes may consolidate power in Iran parliamentary polls
TEHRAN - The Associated PressIranian voters headed to the polls on May 4 for a second round of parliamentary elections that are likely to see conservative opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad consolidate their hold on the legislature.
State TV said that 130 candidates are competing in run-off elections for 65 still-undecided seats in the 290-member Parliament, including 25 of the 30 seats in the capital Tehran. Conservative opponents of Ahmadinejad have already won outright a majority of seats of the new Parliament in the first round of the elections in March.
Ahmadinejad, elected for the second time in 2009 with the backing of the clerical establishment, has seen his political fortunes decline sharply after he was perceived to have defied the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei in April 2011 and tried to expand the authority of the presidency. Although he is likely to be able to serve until the end of his term next year, his allies have been pushed out of key posts and his political clout has been weakened.
“My advice is that people take the runoff as seriously as the first round,” said Khamanei, in comments carried live by television after he cast his vote. The new Parliament will begin its work late May. It has no direct control over major policy matters like Iran’s nuclear program, but it can influence the selection of Ahmadinejad’s successor and other top officials.