Opponents of Ahmadinejad make gains in local elections
Opponents of Iranian president won nationwide elections for local councils, final results confirmed Thursday, the AP reported. Moderate conservatives critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gained a majority of seats in Friday's elections, followed by reformists.
Analysts said the president's allies won less than 20 percent of local council seats across the country.
In Tehran, candidates supporting Mayor Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf, a moderate conservative, won seven of the 15 council seats. Reformists won four, while Ahmadinejad's allies won only three. The last seat went to an Olympic wrestling champion who is considered an independent.
Leading reformist Saeed Shariati said the results of the election was a "big no" to Ahmadinejad and his allies. "People's vote means they don't support Ahmadinejad's policies and want change," Shariati, a leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Iran's largest reformist party told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Similar anti-Ahmadinejad sentiment was visible in the final results of a parallel election held to select members of the Assembly of Experts, a conservative body of 86 senior clerics that monitors Iran's supreme leader and chooses his successor.
Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who lost to Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election runoff, was elected to this body. Also re-elected was Hasan Rowhani, Iran's former top nuclear negotiator whom Ahmadinejad repeatedly accused of making too many concessions to the Europeans.