Allies of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won the most seats in runoff parliamentary elections held Friday, according to preliminary results published by the Iranian Students’ News Agency.
The pro-Rouhani moderate-reformist “Hope” bloc strengthened a modest lead secured in the first round of voting in February by taking 119, or 41 percent, of 290 seats, the Tehran-based semi-official news agency said Saturday. The conservative Principlist faction, which has dominated the Majlis for the past 10 years, trailed with 29 percent, or 83 seats, according to ISNA.
The moderate-dominated parliament may enable Rouhani to succeed in implementing economic reforms that seek to build on his nuclear deal and facilitate ambitious plans to attract $50 billion of foreign investment a year as Iran enters a post-sanctions era. The results will also boost the moderate cleric’s bid to win a second term in office, as he looks ahead to presidential elections scheduled for June 2017.
Two of the legislature’s seats are still undecided, ISNA reported, including one in Esfahan, which was won in the first round by reformist female politician Minoo Khaleghi before she was disqualified by Iran’s top supervisory body, the Guardian Council.
The other seat yet to be announced is in the rural town of Mamasani, in the southern Fars province, where a dispute between rival political supporters escalated into a shooting that left four people wounded during the polls on Friday, ISNA reported.