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Iran election: Reformists poised to win parliamentary seats, ministry says

Campaign posters covered all kinds of surfaces in Tehran on Wednesday, the last day of campaigning. Some see the parliamentary vote as a referendum on President Hassan Rouhani and the nuclear deal he spearheaded.

 

A woman slips campaign material into a car in Tehran.

 

Pictures of candidates cover a wall in the country's capital.

 

These young Iranians in Tehran's Vanak Square said they support Rouhani, a moderate who has helped open up his country more to the world since taking office in 2013.

 

Conservatives -- like these men discussing politics outside an event in Tehran -- also seem energized ahead of the upcoming election. They have expressed concerns about undue influence by the West, specifically the United States and Britain.

 

"Our nation (will) not let America influence our affairs," this woman said at a conservative rally. "We (will) defend with our lives our country and leadership."

 

Evidence of the election could be gone by the weekend. But many believe that the vote will have a big impact on Iran for years to come.

 

Story highlights

NEW: Preliminary results show reformists are poised to take all 30 seats, ministry says

Voters to decide members of parliament and Assembly of Experts

 

The Assembly of Experts selects the successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader

 

Iran’s Interior Ministry said with about one-third of the votes counted in Tehran, reformers were leading the parliamentary elections. Preliminary results show reformists are poised to take all 30 seats up for grabs in Tehran, the ministry said. The reformist candidates are overwhelmingly loyal to Rouhani.

Results from outside Tehran also indicated a strong showing by moderate candidates.

In one significant result, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Hassan Rouhani, both reformists, were in the top two spots for the Assembly of Experts in Tehran as of Saturday afternoon.

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Rafsanjani called for national unity following the divisive vote, according to Iran’s state-run news agency, IRNA.

“The competition is over and the era of unity and cooperation has arrived,” Rafsanjani said, according to IRNA. He said he hoped the final results would promote Iran’s position in the region and across the globe.

“In the current highly sensitive situation in the region (where) insecurity has engulfed some countries, the lively holding of the elections of the Assembly of Experts and Majlis (parliament) in a completely calm and orderly atmosphere can serve as a model of democracy for nations,” Rafsanjani said.

The Interior Ministry said final results will be declared Tuesday.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Saturday that some 33 million people — nearly 60% of eligible voters — turned out in the twin elections.

More than 4,800 candidates, including about 500 women, competed for a place in the 290-seat parliament, according to Iran’s Press TV.

A total of 159 others were running for the 88-member Assembly of Experts.

Members of the Assembly serve eight-year terms, while members of parliament are elected every four years.

Assembly of Experts and the Ayatollah

Both the elections are equally important for Iran and its people, said Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization promoting greater understanding between Americans and Iranians.

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High voter turnout in Iran’s elections 01:58

لطفاً برای دیدن ویدئو به سایت سی‌ان‌ان مراجعه فرمایید.

“In the short term the parliamentary elections will impact Iran’s economic policies. But for the long term, this assembly could elect the next supreme leader, which has greater long-term implications for Iran and its people.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is 76 and has been rumored to be ill. If he were to die in the next eight years, the Assembly of Experts voted into power will select the next supreme leader.

Referendum on Rouhani

In many ways, this election is seen as a referendum on President Rouhani, a moderate who campaigned on a reformist platform before his 2013 election.

Rouhani follows Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into office. The 2009 election in which Ahmadinejad won a second presidential term was widely believed to be rigged and sparked major protests in Iran.

During his two and a half years, Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator, was instrumental in signing a deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

“In this campaign Rouhani and his coalition have been saying that the nuclear deal was first step to economic and political dignity, and that these elections were the next step,” said Marashi of the National Iranian American Council.

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Reformists seek gains in Iranian election 04:23

لطفاً برای دیدن ویدئو به سایت سی‌ان‌ان مراجعه فرمایید.

 

“If the election is favorable to Rouhani, it becomes his responsibility to fulfill campaign promises.”

One of Rouhani’s vice presidents told CNN earlier that a win for the Rouhani camp would help them continue their course.

“If we have a parliament in our favor we could do a lot to make Iran a strong player in this region and to continue to foster relations with the West,” said Masumeh Ebtekar.

If more hardliners are elected, relations could regress to stalemate days, putting in jeopardy much of the recent progress, such as the nuclear agreement.

Tough Campaign

Campaigning in Tehran was fierce, with candidates’ billboards vying for attention, and with activists from both sides flocking to the streets.

A month before the election, many pro-reform candidates who might support Rouhani and his more moderate agenda were disqualified from participating. Thousands of candidates were blocked from running by an unelected, conservative 12-member group called the Guardian Council.

Some have even deemed the election as the most important non-presidential race since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

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Iranians vote in high-stakes election 01:59

لطفاً برای دیدن ویدئو به سایت سی‌ان‌ان مراجعه فرمایید.

Many Iranian youths favor Rouhani, and that demographic group’s support is critical, as more than 60% of Iranians are under the age of 30, according to World Bank figures from 2013. Youth unemployment and underemployment have been significant issues for young people.

While many young people say life has improved under Rouhani, conservatives express concerns about Western influence in the country. They accuse reformers of selling out to the West and have alleged foreign interference in the election. “Death to America” chants are still common.

Many Iranians hope the elections will lead to a better future.

“After these elections there will be a more diverse range of voices, and that will better reflect the will of people,” said Marashi of the National Iranian American Council. “It’s not perfect, but will be better.”

 

Source: CNN

 

 


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  تاریخ انتشار: ۹ اسفند ۱۳۹۴، ساعت: ۱۴:۱۹