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Iran to hold crucial parliamentary elections in February

TEHRAN, July 4 (AFP) - Iran announced Sunday that the first round of parliamentary elections, crucial for the future of moderate President Mohammad Khatami's reform agenda, will be held on February 18.

The Islamic republic's 270-member assembly, or Majlis, is elected every four years by universal suffrage.

The conservative wing of the Islamic regime, led by parliamentary speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri, holds the majority of seats in parliament against a reformist coalition of radical leftists and moderates who back Khatami.

The date of February 18 was proposed by Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mussavi-Lari and accepted by the Council of Guardians, which supervises elections and examines legislation adopted by the assembly.

No date was announced for the second round.

Reformists, who swept the majority of seats in the Islamic republic's first-ever municipal elections, hope they will be able to boost their numbers in parliament and provide Khatami with the majority he currently lacks.


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