Saturday, March 15, 2008

Iran: Conservatives Set to Win. US: Elections are "cooked"

15/03/2008 Conservatives took an early lead in an election for Iran's 290-seat parliament with 108 seats to 33 for their reformist opponents.

The main conservative coalition the United Principalists Front spokesman Shahabeddin Sadr told Reuters that his bloc had won 70 percent of the seats where final results had been announced. "Our list nationwide has been welcomed by the people and this is a sign of the trust people have in the service of the principalists," he added.

On the other hand, a senior reformist politician said reformists, despite what he called the 'hurdles', had done well in cities. He forecast they would win 50 to 70 seats, up from about 40 that they held before.

Earlier, Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi had said that the final results of the elections nationwide would be announced by Thursday morning at the latest.

Over 28 million out of some 43.8 million eligible voters participated in Iran's parliamentary elections Friday, meaning a turnout of more than 65 percent. "The nation's vote broke the enemy's back," the Kayhan daily crowed on its front page. The authorities had called for a huge turnout to send a message of national unity to Iran's enemies amid continued tensions with the West over its nuclear drive. "Fortunately and contrary to our expectations, the participation has been overwhelming," Mohammadi said.

Meanwhile, the United States anticipated the final results to 'condemn' the elections as 'cooked'. The results are "cooked in the sense that the Iranian people were not able to vote for a full range of people," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Ahmadinejad cast his vote in Tehran after returning from Senegal, where he attended the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit. Addressing critics of the election, Ahmadinejad said that while the West may prefer to see reformists in government, the decision ultimately lay with the Iranian people. The Iranian president also insisted that sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council would not sway the public's vote.
"They imagine that by having approved a resolution, they can influence people's decisions in the election," Ahmadinejad told reporters. "It is regretful that they are this stupid, sometimes it really makes me laugh that they do not know the Iranian nation," he continued. (Al-Manar TV)


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