Iranian President Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Ahmadinejad Israel news photo: Flash 90

Support for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is fading away at home. His Islamist rivals in parliament won a landslide vote Friday, with the first session of the legislative body set to begin in about two weeks.

It was partly Ahmadinejad's challenge of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini for the authority to choose Iran's intelligence chief that brought him down, as did his desire for control over its nuclear policy, analysts said.

Final results of the polls released by Iranian media on Saturday showed that conservative rivals had won a landslide victory in Friday's runoff vote.

The president's rivals had won the initial majority in the 290-member parliament in the first round of elections in March, then grabbed another 41 mandates of the 65 seats left in the runoff. Independent candidates won another 11, leaving only 13 seats for supporters of the hapless president, according to the report Saturday by Iranian state media.

Few if any reformist parties fielded any candidates, unlike the elections held in 2009, where protests rocked the nation following claims the polls resulting in Ahmadinejad's re-election had been rigged.

In Iran, both the president and the parliament are generally subordinate to the religious authority; but Ahmadinejad had tried to buck the system – an attempt that ended in failure.

Parliament has no direct control over any real foreign or security policy in any case; those issues are determined by the Supreme Leader.

Since Ahmadinejad has served the maximum two terms, his term ends in August 2013. In the intervening time, it is likely he will have significant power, inasmuch as few of his supporters remain in positions of influence.

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