Iranian MPs re-elected conservative politician Ali Larijani as the Parliament’s speaker May 30.
Larijani, who was nominated to be speaker by parliament’s “independent” faction, had to compete against reform camp candidate Mohammad Reza Aref and the hardliners’ nominee for the post, Hamid Reza Hajibabai.
Larijani won 147 of the 279 votes cast by the body’s 290 members. Nine MPs abstained and two were absent.
The vote shows a dramatic drop in Larijani’s popularity, as he won 204 votes in the previous round of the election for the same post last year, when there were no other candidates.
Khabar Online, a news agency close to Larijani, wrote that this most recent vote was the most difficult Larijani has faced in the 14 times he has held the post.
Larijani has been an ally of Iran’s moderate president Hassan Rouhani, while his brother, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Iran’s Judiciary Chief, is one of the President’s key opponents.