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Conservatives expect to take majority in Iranian Parliament

Conservatives expect to take majority in Iranian Parliament
An Iranian woman casts her ballot at a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Tehran on Friday. Early returns show conservatives gaining a majority of seats in the country's Parliament. Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA-EFE

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Early returns from Iran's parliamentary election show conservative allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gaining a sizable majority, elections officials said Saturday.

Iranian officials said that 42 seats of the 290-seat Parliament were won outright by conservatives, and some forecasts show them taking more than two-thirds of the seats.

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Projections showed reformists, who made up the largest grouping in the outgoing Parliament, taking 17 seats.

Official turnout numbers from Friday's election have not been released, but Abbasali Kadkhodai, spokesman for the watchdog Guardian Council, predicted that the turnout would be about 50 percent.

In 2016, 62 percent of eligible voters cast votes in the parliamentary election, and 66 percent of those eligible voted in 2012.

Conservatives were projected to win all 30 seats representing Tehran.

Prior to the election Iran's Guardian Council disbarred from standing nearly half of the election's 16,033 hopefuls.

Most of those deemed ineligible to run were moderates and reformers, and citizens who spoke with media said they were unsurprised by results.

"Why should we wait for the result? It is a foregone conclusion and has been fixed in advance. They can do what they want, and we just have to get on making a living. We face years more of sanctions," a shopper in Tehran told The Guardian.

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