Wednesday, 15 January, 2020

Early results show Iran reformists lead in Tehran

Preliminary results in Iran’s first major election since last year’s landmark nuclear deal show moderates making a strong showing in a high-stakes ballot that could shape the future of the country and its relationship with the West.

Voters cast ballots Friday for members for parliament as well as a powerful clerical body — the Assembly of Experts, the committee of clerics that chooses the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader.

Iran’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that with about one-third of the votes counted in Tehran, reformers were leading the parliamentary elections. 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.

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.

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