Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the lead in Iran's parliamentary elections, according to partial results early Saturday, but reformists showed strength in some cities where they were allowed to compete.
Results early Saturday from 32 contests -- a fraction of the 290 seats at stake -- indicated the conservative candidates winning 19 seats, reformists eight and moderate conservatives five, according to results compiled from local officials speaking to The Associated Press and reports from the official IRNA and semi-official Fars news agencies. About half the seats won by the conservative candidates so far were in districts where no reformist candidates were running.
Reformist candidates were running in only about half of the races nationwide, according to nationwide lists of candidates, though some reformist leaders earlier said they were in 90 races.
IRNA quoted Interior Ministry officials as saying that the turnout was estimated between 55 to 65 percent, up from the 51 percent in 2004 elections. Some 44 million Iranians of over 18 years of age across the country were eligible to vote.
In one key race, Ali Larijani -- the former top nuclear negotiator, who stepped down after differences with Ahmadinejad -- won a seat in the clerical city of Qom, the Fars news agency said. Some have speculated the conservative Larijani will run for president in 2009.