Iranian conservatives won a big majority in parliament after two rounds of elections, according to final results Saturday, but the chamber could still prove critical of controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Conservatives won 69 percent of the seats, reformists 16 percent and independents more than 14 percent, Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi told a news conference.
He was speaking a day after the second round of an election in which 82 seats in the 290-seat parliament were at stake. The first round on March 14 had already assured conservatives of overall victory.
Pour Mohammadi did not give the number of seats won by each faction. But the percentages mean that conservatives will have around 200 seats in the next parliament, reformists 50 and independents around 40.
"My assessment is that the future parliament will be more capable (than the last), with stronger expertise. I hope there will be stronger interaction between the government and the parliament," he told reporters.
The vote for reformists -- whose hopes of mounting a significant challenge were stymied by mass pre-vote disqualifications -- appeared to have held up respectably in the second round outside
But the reformists fared badly in the run-offs in the capital, with conservatives taking 10 out of the 11 seats having already swept up all 19 of the seats available in the first round, Pour Mohammadi said.
Just one reformist, Ali Reza Mahjoub, was set to sit in the new parliament for Tehran after squeezing into 11th place in the second round, with reformist support hit by a meagre turnout in the capital on Friday.
A conservative-controlled parliament is in any case not expected to be wholeheartedly supportive of Ahmadinejad, who has alienated many of his fellow conservatives with controversial policies and speeches.
Ahmadinejad faces a re-election battle in the summer of 2009 against a background of discontent over high inflation, and his toughest competition is expected to come from more moderate fellow conservatives.