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Iran parliament reduces voting age to 15

TEHRAN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Iran's parliament on Wednesday agreed to reduce the voting age to 15 from 16 and set the date for parliamentary by-elections to coincide with presidential polls in May 2001.

The new voting age limit reversed a hardline-supported bill last year, which raised the voting age to 16 from the limit of 15 set after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The revolutionary government had reduced the limit from 18 to increase voter turnout.

The hardliners had raised the voting age to 16 last year for parliamentary elections held in February this year in an attempt to decrease the votes that more radical youth would cast for reformers.

The reformers won the majority of parliamentary seats anyway, and by reducing the age to 15 again, hope to boost their vote in presidential and parliamentary by-elections next May.

President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate who won the 1997 elections in a landslide is expected to run for re-election next year, while conservatives have yet to put up a serious candidate to stand against him.

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