Iran’s Reformist captures parliamentary in polls

Iranian parliamentary poll points to reformist gains

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The latest results of Iran’s parliamentary polls released on Sunday point to gains by the country’s reformists.

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In Tehran, about 2.75 million ballots counted show the reformist coalition has secured all 30 seats representing the nation’s capital in parliament, according to the Interior Ministry.

Prominent reformist figure Mohammed Reza Aref leads the race for Majlis, or parliament, in Tehran. The ministry did not mention the percentage of the counted votes in Tehran, but added that the count was continuing.

With Tehran results, it can be said that the reformist camp has regained ground in the Majlis.

Media reports also said Sunday that conservatives are leading the race with a narrow margin in other regions in Iran where counting has been concluded.

Observers believed that the next Majlis will open further space for the reformists and moderates.

Currently, almost two thirds of Majlis representatives are from the principlist camp, and the rest encompasses independents and a small portion of reformists.

The first elections after last year’s nuclear deal have been observed as a hard blow to the hard-liners opposing President Hassan Rouhani’s agenda to liberalize the economy and cooperate with the West.

Rouhani thanked voters Saturday night and called for more support for him to end Iran’s isolation.

“Now it is time to open a new way through unity between people and the government to have a new chapter in growth of the national economy by using domestic strength and foreign opportunities,” he said.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said earlier that the final results would come out in the following days, and that in some regions candidates have not been able to win the required number of votes in the first round, so they have to compete in a runoff race.

Majlis candidates shall win at least a quarter of the votes in the first round in each region to secure a seat in parliament. Otherwise, a second round of voting will be called.

Fazli said the second round of elections for the Majlis will be held in the second half of April 2016.

Of the nearly 55 million eligible voters, about 60 percent cast their ballots for the elections of Majlis and the Assembly of Experts on Friday, he said.

Out of 12,000 registered candidates, 6,229 were competing for 290 seats in the Majlis. Iranians were also asked to choose 88 members of the Assembly of Experts out of 166 qualified candidates.

The Assembly of Experts is elected every eight years and charged with electing and removing the Supreme Leader of the country and supervising his activities.

Xinhua, February 29, 2016

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