Reformists win second round of Iran parliamentary polls
Moderates make gains over conservatives, winning 35 seats, local media says
By Mustafa Melih Ahishali
Conservatives lost to reformists and centrists in the second round of Iran’s parliamentary polls Saturday, according to Iranian state media.
Final results show the "Hope" list -- comprised of reformist and centrist candidates -- won 35 of the 68 seats up for grabs in the 290-seat assembly, while conservatives clinched 19 seats. Independents picked up 14.
This brings the total number of seats held by the reformists and centrists to 120, while the conservatives and independents hold 83 and 81 seats, respectively. Minorities hold five of the remaining six seats.
The result of the final seat remains unclear at the moment as one reformist lawmaker's membership has been terminated by the Guardian Council of the Constitution after winning in the first round.
A first round of elections in February for the same seats failed to produce any clear winners.
The second round kicked off on Friday in 21 of Iran’s 31 provinces with 136 candidates vying for the 68 seats.
Reformist and moderate candidates who support Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hoped to reduce the conservatives’ influence on both the Iranian parliament and the influential Council of Experts, for which polls were also recently held.
Last December, Iran’s Guardian Council of the Constitution provoked outrage after rejecting numerous candidacy applications, including those of prominent theologians and sitting MPs.
Amid mounting criticism, the council eventually accepted 1,500 applications, but these included only a few submitted by reformist candidates.
The Guardian Council of the Constitution is considered one of Iran’s most influential political institutions. It is comprised of 12 members, six of whom are appointed directly by Iran’s supreme leader.
*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Hale Turkes contributed to this report from Ankara.
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