With about 90 percent of the votes counted, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to be the big loser against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
Hardliners from the Islamist camp appear to have captured at least three-quarters of the 290 seats in the Majlis, the country's parliament, in Friday's election, according to Iran's Press TV.
Khameini, 72, already has the upper hand since as Supreme Leader, it is he who forms foreign policy and makes the decisions on nuclear development activities, despite Ahmadinejad's public bombast. But he and Ahmadinejad have been locked in a power struggle for some time, with Khameini have called the president a “religious deviant” earlier this year.
In any event, Ahmadinejad has already served his maximum two terms, and cannot run for a third. More than 3,400 candidates stood for election in the polls, and 65 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots.
Ahmadinejad's sister, Parvin Ahmadinejad, failed to win a seat in her hometown of Garmsar, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency, sparking suspicions of another election fraud.
No candidates from the country's opposition and reformist Green Movement had appeared on this year's ballots.
The movement's leadership, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were both placed under house arrest three years ago during a violent government crackdown on demonstrators who protested that national presidential elections were rigged.
Both are still under lock and key, leaving solely conservative, right-wing candidates on the ballots.