Ruling Conservatives Should Fare Well in Iran Vote

Conservatives likely to gain in parliament as many reform candidates barred
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 13, 2008 6:12 PM CDT
Qom is the heartland of Iran's clerical establishment, where most top ayatollahs are based. The clerics that emerge from its seminaries fill some senior government positions.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Iranian conservatives are likely to gain seats in tomorrow's parliamentary elections despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's growing unpopularity, Al Jazeera reports. Iranians may disapprove of the president's economic policies, but the ruling Guardians Council barred 1,700 candidates—mainly reformists—from seeking election to the 290-seat parliament. Government officials and state-run media are urging high turnout after campaigning limited to one week.

Some consider the elections a "litmus test" to gauge Ahmadinejad's remaining support. But with Iranian New Year looming and a confusing ballot that demands voters pick a candidate for each seat, turnout isn't expected to exceed 60%. "I would like to see Ahmadinejad and the people in parliament cope with the money I have," said one voter dealing with the 20% inflation rate.