Ahmadinejad's sister loses in Iran vote

Iran's election: What it means
Iran's election: What it means

    JUST WATCHED

    Iran's election: What it means

MUST WATCH

Iran's election: What it means 02:39

Story highlights

  • The president's sister was defeated by a conservative
  • Ali Larijani, the parliament's speaker, won re-election
  • Conservatives fared well in the race

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's sister lost her bid for a seat in the nation's parliamentary elections, a result seen as a blow to the controversial leader and, according to one analyst, a "possible sign of fraud."

Parvin Ahmadinejad, running in her family's hometown of Garmsar, was defeated by a conservative rival in Friday's elections for the Majlis, Iran's parliament, the country's news outlets said Saturday.

More than 64 percent of eligible voters streamed to the polls in large numbers, and election officials praised the exercise, in which about 3,400 candidates vied for Majlis seats.

It's first time Iranians are voting since allegations of rigging in the 2009 elections triggered mass street protests against President Ahmadinejad's re-election.

Many observers say the underlying issue of the election is whether voters back the president, who has been in a rivalry with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran elections and tensions with Israel
Iran elections and tensions with Israel

    JUST WATCHED

    Iran elections and tensions with Israel

MUST WATCH

Iran elections and tensions with Israel 03:20
PLAY VIDEO
Iranians vote, nuke program goes on
Iranians vote, nuke program goes on

    JUST WATCHED

    Iranians vote, nuke program goes on

MUST WATCH

Iranians vote, nuke program goes on 01:18
PLAY VIDEO

Khamenei publicly supported Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election victory during the dispute over the 2009 ballot results. But tensions have flared between the two leaders over the past year, with Ahmadinejad disappearing from public view for 11 days after the supreme leader overruled his decision to fire an intelligence minister.

Several of Ahmadinejad's top political allies have also been subjected to lawsuits and investigations. But in the run-up to this week's vote, the supreme leader urged factions to overcome previous divisions and repeatedly called for unity.

The current Majlis speaker, Ali Larijani, and Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the current chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, were re-elected, state media said.

Conservatives backing Khamenei or with links to him performed well in the race.

One candidate, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, was overwhelmingly leading his race. His daughter is married to Khamenei's son.

But one observer suggested the defeat of the president's sister could be a sign of political fraud.

"In Iran, locals are usually fiercely loyal to high ranking representatives from their area, even if they are unpopular at national level," said Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli-Iranian Middle East analyst.

"Although Ahmadinejad is not a popular politician, the very fact that his sister was defeated in Garmsar is a valid possible sign of fraud. This is likely to lead to even more infighting."

Solat Mortazavi, the deputy Interior minister overseeing the elections, praised the polling.

"These have been the most lawful elections," he said. "The elections were conducted in the best possible way."

Mortazavi said it was the first time Iran successfully used computerized voting systems in some polling stations. Final results might be released in a matter of days. He said flooding delayed the retrieval of ballot boxes from remote communities.

During the post-election crackdown three years ago, security forces used deadly force to crack down on the opposition Green Movement and presidential candidates Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi were placed under house arrest, where they remain.

There were no candidates from the Green Movement in this year's parliamentary election. Iranian political analysts describe the vote as a contest between rival conservative factions within the government.

The predominantly Shiite nation faces an escalating international outcry and Western sanctions over its nuclear program, prompting leaders to call for a higher voter turnout to establish legitimacy.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.