Iran rejects crticism on fairness of election
Iran rejected Western criticism of its parliamentary elections, pointing Monday to 60 percent turnout in an election that saw conservatives win a majority. The cleric-led Guardian Council threw out most of the reformists's candidates on grounds they were insufficiently loyal to the values of Islam and Iran's 1979 revolution.
Washington described the election "cooked" because of the disqualifications. The European Union said the vote was "neither fair nor free" and that the barring of candidates was a "grave violation" of international norms.
On his part, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the European comments were "hasty and biased judgments" and that the EU should "reconsider its unjust and unconstructive approach" toward Iran. The election "observed all provisions of the constitution and other related laws of the country and was approved by an absolute majority of the Iranian nation," he said, according to the state news agency IRNA.
Conservatives maintained their hold on the 290-member parliament. But their camp is split between hard-line allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supporters who have become sharp critics of the president. They accuse him of harming the economy and of acting unilaterally on local issues without consultations with others.
With final results reported from all races except those in Tehran, 113 of parliament's 290 seats went to conservatives. Nearly 70 went to a list dominated by pro-Ahmadinejad candidates and the rest to a slate led by his conservative critics, according to individual results announced by state television and the official news agency IRNA.
Reformists won 31 seats, according to the results. Another 39 winners were independents. Five other seats were dedicated to Iran's Jewish, Zoroastrian and Christian minorities. Reformist leaders said at least 14 winning independents are pro-reform, bringing their bloc to 45 seats so far. That would be around the number of the reformists in the outgoing parliament.
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