Monday, December 18, 2006

Partial Iranian Election Results Showing Victory for Moderate Conservatives

Partial results for Iran’s elections on December 15, 2006 are showing that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the hardline conservatives are facing a setback. In the end, if the reformists and conservative moderates do very well in the Council elections on December 15, it will signal to Supreme Leader Khamanei that their message of engagement with the US is acceptable.

The elections were held for both local councils and for the Assembly of Experts, the powerful clerical body which supervises and can dismiss the Supreme Leader. There were 46.5 million eligible voters, with more than 250,000 candidates running for around 100,000 local council seats nationwide.

On a turnout of 60%, the big winners seem to be moderate conservatives, while reformists have made a comeback after three poor election showings.

Moderate former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani sealed a landslide win for a seat on the Assembly of Experts.

With most of the results for local elections announced throughout the country, the President Ahmadinejad’s allies have failed to win control of any council. Ahmadinejad’s supporters have also failed to main significant gains on the Assembly of Experts.

A political analyst, Mostafa Mirzaeian, said Iran's political lineup was changing in favor of moderate voices within the ruling Islamic establishment. According to Mirzaeian, “The elections have united reformers. Results also show that a new coalition has developed between reformers and moderate conservatives at the expense of hard-line extremists who support Ahmadinejad.”

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