By Rohollah Faghihi, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
Pro-Rouhani Candidates Scoop up Most Seats in Runoff
After having controlled Iran’s legislature for more than a decade, hard-liners have resolutely been hit with a big defeat in the country’s parliamentary elections. In the first round of voting on Feb. 26, Reformists and moderates got massive support and secured complete victory in the Iranian capital. All of Tehran’s 30 seats were won by the joint Reformist-moderate ticket.
Overall, the Feb. 26 vote gave Reformists and moderates 83 out of parliament’s 290 seats, while the Principlists got 64 and independents won 55. In many cities other than Tehran, elections went to a second round as a number of candidates failed to gain the necessary 25% quorum of votes. The runoff, which was held April 29, was over the 68 remaining seats — lesser in number than the first round, but nevertheless momentous since it determines whether one side will have a majority.
The results of the runoff have baffled the hard-liners as much as the outcome of the first round. Based on the results published by Iranian media, 38 of the contested 68 seats were won by supporters of President Hassan Rouhani.
Overall, the Reformists and the moderates are now considered the biggest faction, with 121 seats in parliament. The Principlists and independents have meanwhile won 83 and 81 seats, respectively.
The independent members of parliament will play a major role in the decisions of the next parliament. It is still not fully known which side they favor. However, a number of moderates ran as independents. Iranian political analyst Hossein Kanani Moghaddam told Al-Monitor, “[The independent parliamentarians] are mostly close to [incumbent Speaker] Ali Larijani.” He added, “I think the independent members of parliament will form an alliance with the Reformists and will support Rouhani’s policies.”