March 15, 2008 / 11:19 AM / 11 years ago

Conservatives ahead in Iran vote count so far: TV

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Conservatives are ahead with 108 seats against 33 for their reformist opponents in an election for Iran’s 290-seat parliament, Iran’s state Press TV said on Saturday, citing unofficial results so far.

Iranians voted on Friday in an election that was expected to keep conservatives in control of the assembly after many reformists, the staunchest critics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were barred from running.

Echoing Press TV’s figures, conservative politician Shahabeddin Sadr said 70 percent of those elected so far were “principlists” — a label conservatives use to describe themselves for their loyalty to the Islamic Republic’s ideals.

He did not give a breakdown of seats.

Sadr, who was quoted by the official IRNA news agency, is the secretary of the United Front, the biggest and most pro-government conservative group. But the group includes both backers and critics of Ahmadinejad.

Sadr said most of the “principlists” elected were included on the United Front’s candidate list.

Press TV, an English-language satellite channel, also said 28 million of Iran’s 44 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, a turnout of 64 percent. The Interior Ministry had put turnout at more than 65 percent.

Reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Firouz Sedarat

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