Ahmadinejad Suffers Major Setback in Iranian Elections

Posted May 5th, 2012 at 10:15 am (UTC-5)
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suffered a major setback in run-off parliamentary elections that could influence the outcome of next year's presidential election.

Preliminary results from Friday's second round of polling show strong support for Iran's religious leadership, including loyalists to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

State media announced Saturday that Mr. Ahmadinejad's opponents won 20 seats, compared with eight for his supporters and 11 for independents. Sixty-five seats in Iran's 290-seat parliament were at stake.

Final results are expected later Saturday.

Analysts say relations between Mr. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have become strained. The president upset Khamenei loyalists last year when he challenged the supreme leader's authority in appointing top government officials.

Conservative opponents of Mr. Ahmadinejad won a majority of seats in the first round of voting in March. The president is in his second and final term.