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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 14:54 GMT
Predicted win for Iran hardliners
Polling booth in Iran
Many reformers had boycotted Friday's election
A final vote count by the Iranian authorities has confirmed that conservatives made sweeping gains in last week's general election.

Conservative candidates won 156 of the assembly's 290 seats. Nearly 60 are still to be decided and will go to a second round of voting.

The conservative victory was expected, after thousands of reformist candidates had been barred from standing.

But analysts say the poll has dealt a devastating blow to the reform camp.

Reformists - who held 190 seats in the outgoing parliament - won around 40, with 34 going to independents.

Standing down

In the run-up to the poll some pro-reform groups had called for a boycott, while supporters of clerical rule urged people to vote.

The outgoing parliament is still supposed to sit for another three months until the inauguration of the new parliament.

But about 120 of its reformist members are going ahead with the resignations they announced in protest at the elections.

Earlier this week the candidate expected to lead the conservative bloc in the new parliament called on the US to recognise the legitimacy of Iran's 25-year-old Islamic revolution.

Washington has criticised last Friday's poll, describing it as neither free nor fair.


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