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Reformists, moderates shown to be leading in Iranian elections

Moderate conservatives and reformists have taken the lead in Iran's parliamentary elections, according to unofficial counts. If held, the result could help President Hassan Rouhani have a more favorable house.

Early results Saturday showed reformists and moderate conservatives leading in Iran's parliamentary elections, according to unofficial counts reported by the AP, Fars and Mehr news agencies.

The results indicate that moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who has been credited with trying to improve international ties, might more easily pursue his political agenda. Moderates are expected to cash in on the lifting of international sanctions after the historic nuclear deal was agreed upon by world powers, while reformists are seeking greater democratic changes.

Partial results from about 50 small towns across the country have emerged, indicating that reformists and their moderate allies were leading the vote, with early returns suggesting that none of the three competing politicals factions will win a majority in the 290-seat parliament.

Hard-liners are said to be mainly loyalists of Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose relationship with the United States was especially strained during his two terms in office. Early indications point to them as the main losers of the vote.

Massive turnout

The country has voted to elect members to the parliament as well as clerics to the Assembly of Experts, an 88-member body that monitors the work of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader.

Electoral officials claimed that more than 28 million people had cast their ballot in the elections, resulting in a turnout of more than 50 percent. Many polling stations in large cities, including capital Tehran, where around 5.5 million people had voted to elect 30 MPs, had to remain open until after the midnight deadline.

Official results are expected Saturday. Results from Tehran could be delayed until Tuesday.

Watch video 02:20

High voter turnout in Iran election

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