Iran to hold parliamentary run-off elections in April

Iran will vote in run-off elections for 69 parliamentary seats in April

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An Iranian woman holding her daughter casts her ballot during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran, February 26, 2016. [Reuters]

Iran will hold run-off elections next month for 69 parliamentary seats where no candidate obtained 25 percent of votes cast in a general election on Feb. 26, state radio said on Tuesday.

Results in last month’s elections show moderate-wing allies of President Hassan Rouhani succeeding substantially against conservative-wing allies but neither faction obtained a majority.

Run-off elections will determine which wing will control the 290-seat parliament.    

"We will hold the second round of the parliamentary election on April 29, as approved by the Guardian Council," state radio quoted Interior Ministry official Ali Motlagh as saying.

In a parallel vote on Feb. 26, Rouhani and his allies won a stunning 15 out of the 16 Tehran seats in the 88-member Assembly of Experts, which selects the person with the most power in Iran, the supreme leader.

Some 62 percent of nearly 55 million eligible Iranians voted in February's twin elections, the first since a nuclear deal was reached with six major powers in 2015 to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.

None of the groups lost in the elections according to claims following the results.

Supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Rouhani's moderates both claimed victory in the elections while many moderate candidates were disqualified by the Guardian Council, a vetting body.

Iranians fill in their ballots during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran February 26, 2016. [Reuters]

The poll results have to be confirmed by the Guardian Council, which has so far approved just over 50 constituencies out of 196. The new parliament and the Assembly of Experts will start work on May 27.

Rouhani and his allies have won all 30 parliamentary seats in Tehran and his allies have underlined the importance of the April run-offs, which will decide which faction has a parliamentary majority.

"Our aim is to get at least 40 of the 69 seats in the run-off elections to secure the majority in the next parliament," said former vice-president Mohammad Reza Aref, who won the first seat in Tehran.

Then results in the capital were a loss for conservatives, although they retain decisive power due to Iran's dual system of clerical and republican rule.

Conservatives, which retain still the majority, aim to gain more seats in the parliament by winning run-off elections outside the capital. Most of the lawmakers who failed to be re-elected had strongly opposed the nuclear deal.

Iran does not possess rigid party affiliations and some candidates are backed by various political camps, which makes it difficult to specify which faction has won a parliamentary majority.

TRTWorld and agencies