President Rouhani’s Reformist Allies Win Major Seats in Iran’s Elections
Iranians went to the polls on February 26 to elect new members of Parliament and members of the Assembly of Experts. It is the 10th parliament since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and the 35th since the Islamic Constitutional Revolution. This was the first time that both bodies have been elected simultaneously.
The election entered a second round for some constituencies where candidates failed to obtain the minimum requirement of 25% of votes cast.
The Parliament, also known as Majlis has 290 members that are elected every four years and are responsible for passing the country’s legislation.
The Assembly of Experts is composed of 88 members and are responsible for choosing the country’s supreme leader. They are elected every eight years. They are charged with choosing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s successor, who has suffered poor health in recent years.
There are no official political parties in Iran so age old notions of Iranian elections being a battle between reformists and conservatives have been termed inaccurate. The significance for President Hassan Rouhani’s policy efforts rests on a parliament that will aid rather than frustrate his efforts in lifting economic sanctions from the West due to a nuclear culture in a country where several political factions are conservative and anti-west including the Supreme Leader.
Iran has recorded a huge percentage of voter turnout as evidenced in the previous elections and a higher turnout in the 2015 elections, nearly 34 out of 55 million people turned out to vote. The reformists worked hard on pushing for a large turnout of voters in the elections. This comes against the backdrop of a short campaign period with candidates left to campaign within a week which lives new candidates little time to create momentum for their campaigns.
Following the counting of 90% of the votes, President Rouhani’s reformist allies looked certain to take all 30 parliamentary seats. Rouhani’s focus for the success of the elections has been on creating greater strength and credibility for the government in developing the country’s economy and international opportunities, with a focus on attracting foreign investment to create jobs for young people.
*Photo cred of Rouhani and female voters with ID’s: AP
Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei casting his vote: Reuters