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An Iranian woman casting her vote
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

Iran reformists make election gains

Natalie Muller
April 30, 2016

Reformist politicians allied with Iranian President Rouhani have won a runoff vote, official results show. But they have failed to win enough seats to secure an overall majority.


Iranian media reported Saturday that the moderate-reformist bloc secured 37 additional seats in Iran's second round of parliamentary elections. The results mean the Islamic republic's next parliament will likely be more supportive of President Hassan Rouhani's push for economic reforms.

Friday's runoff aimed to decide the winners of 68 seats where no candidate had won decisively in the first round, which was held in February. The moderate-reformists performed well in the earlier vote, paving the way for a situation where conservative MPs could be outnumbered by their rivals for the first time since 2004.

The results, broadcast by Iranian state TV, confirmed that moderate candidates had won 37 of the 68 seats up for grabs in the second round, with the rest split between conservatives and independents.

The reformist bloc, which backs Rouhani, needed to win at least 40 additonal seats in order to control the 290-seat parliament. As both the moderates and the conservatives have failed to secure a majority - with a total of 143 seats, the independents will hold the balance of power.

President Rouhani
President Rouhani has sought to end Iran's isolationImage: picture-alliance/abaca/I. Yakut

Push for change

But the reformist gains in the second round signify a huge show of support for Rouhani, who won a landslide election victory in 2013 and reached a historic deal with world powers last year. The agreement led to the lifting of sanctions in January in return for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

Iran's reformists support foreign investment, and have called for greater diplomatic rapprochement, social change and fewer political restrictions.

The current parliament, dominated by hardline allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly blocked Rouhani's initiatives. Despite some losses, the conservatives are expected to remain a powerful force in the next chamber.

Around 17 million citizens were eligible to vote in 21 of Iran's provinces on Friday. Final results are expected to be announced later on Saturday.

nm/mm/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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