Iran election: Reformists poised to win parliamentary seats, ministry says
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reformists seek gains in Iranian election 04:23
“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.
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.shortlink: