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Iran conservatives contest poll for parliament

Category: Headlines

Published: 2nd Mar 2012 08:07:46

Voters in Iran are taking part in elections to choose the 290 members of the parliament, the Majlis.

It is the first poll since the 2009 presidential elections, which the opposition says were rigged in favour of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The vote is widely viewed as a contest between his supporters and those of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The opposition Green Movement is not taking part. Its leaders have been under house arrest for over a year.

Early on Friday, Iranian TV broadcast images of Ayatollah Khamenei casting his vote in the capital, Tehran. He said it was a "duty and a right'' for Iranians to vote.

"Because of the controversies over Iran and increased verbal threats the more people come to the polling stations the better for the country,'' the ayatollah said. "The vote always carries a message for our friends and our enemies.''

Voters in Iran, who do not want to be identified, talk about who they are backing

More than 48 million people are eligible to take part in the vote, which is taking place at about 47,000 polling stations.

But correspondents say even some of President Ahmadinejad's supporters are quietly calling for voters to stay away from the polls.

Mr Ahmadinejad has fallen out with Mr Khamenei in recent months, and some of his supporters complain that their candidates have been barred from standing.

The Guardian Council - which is controlled by Ayatollah Khamenei - vets and approves parliamentary candidates.

The respective strength of the different conservative camps after this poll will define the balance of power for what may be a much more important vote - the 2013 presidential election, says BBC Iran correspondent James Reynolds.

However the results of the elections are unlikely to change Iran's stance on its controversial nuclear programme, he adds.

International sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme have been having an effect on the economy.

Polling stations close at 18:00 local time (14:30 GMT) and official results are expected on Sunday or Monday.

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BBC News, 2012. Iran conservatives contest poll for parliament [Online] (Updated 2nd Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1415308/Iran-conservatives-contest-poll-for-parliament [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]

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