Iran election results no victory for Ahmadinejad, says spokesman

(dpa) - The results of Iran's parliamentary elections should not be interpreted as victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a spokesman of one of the victorious conservative factions said Monday.

"The results of the elections should not be interpreted as a victory for Ahmadinejad's government because the majority of the new parliament deputies will be critical towards the government," Ami-Ali Amiri said.

Although the conservatives made a landslide victory in Friday's elections and secured themselves almost three-quarters of the 290 seats, but observers had prior to the elections noted that despite common ideological grounds, there was a split within conservatives.

The harmony between the two camps before the elections was just for standing united against the reformist opposition.

The conservatives are currently divided into two camps. One camp is headed by speaker Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel and supports Ahmadinejad, the other by Ali Larijani and critical of the president's policies, especially in the economic field.

"A suitable parliament is one with more supervisory dimension ? the new deputies should support the government in taking correct decisions but also in not taking hasty ones," the spokesman said.

Amiri said that even in the pro-Ahmadinejad camp, there are some deputies who are critical of the government's performance.

The so called "revisionist camp," which is close to Larijani and Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, contains deputies were, like Larijani himself, behind Ahmadinejad following his presidency in August 2005 but gradually distanced themselves from the president.

Larijani resigned in October last year as chief nuclear negotiator following grave differences with Ahmadinejad over his uncompromising nuclear policies.

Also Qalibaf is a renowned critic of the president's economic policies which have led to inflation rates between 20 to 30, in real estate even more than 70 per cent.

The spokesman claimed that about 55 per cent of around 220 deputies who made it into the parliament in the first round belong to the pro-Larijani camp.

The remaining 70 seats would be determined in run-off elections to be held within the next two months.

Reformists and independent deputies have gained about one-quarter of the seats and although hardly able to influence any future legislative decisions, they will at least have a public platform after many years out of political business.

The question of who should become new parliament speaker has also led to disputes among the two camps.

While the pro-Ahmadinejad faction wants Hadad-Adel to continue, the other camp calls on Larijani to take the position which has a higher political status in Iran than in the West.

"Our candidate for speaker is definitely Mr. Larijani," said Amiri.

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