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Ahmadinejad Suffers Major Setback in Iranian Elections


Electoral workers count ballots in a polling station, in Tehran, Iran, May 4, 2012.

Electoral workers count ballots in a polling station, in Tehran, Iran, May 4, 2012.

Final results from Iran's runoff parliamentary elections show that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suffered a major setback that could influence the outcome of next year's presidential elections.

According to results reported late Saturday by state media, Mr. Ahmadinejad's supporters won only 13 of the 65 seats contested in Friday's vote, further reducing his power base in the 290-seat legislation. The president's opponents won 41 of the contested seats, while independents won 11.

The results also show strong support for Iran's religious leadership, including loyalists to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Relations between Mr. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have been strained since last year, when the president challenged the supreme leader's authority in appointing top government officials.

Although no final figures were released, Iranian media reported a high turnout in the runoff, which Tehran described as a sign of trust in the country's political system and in Iran's approach to Western pressure over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

The new parliament will begin its sessions in late May.

Conservative opponents of Mr. Ahmadinejad won an outright majority in the first round of voting in March. The president is in his second and final term.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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