Rouhani's relative reformists set to increase representation in parliament

Loosening of control by the anti-Western hardliners who currently dominate the 290-seat parliament could strengthen the president's hand to open Iran further to foreign trade and investment.

By REUTERS
February 28, 2016 07:09
2 minute read.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earned a vote of confidence as reformist partners secured surprise gains in parliament in early results from elections that could accelerate the Islamic Republic's emergence from years of isolation.

While gains by relative moderates and reformists in Friday's polls were most evident in the capital, Tehran, the sheer scale of the advances there suggests a legislature more friendly to Rouhani has emerged as a distinct possibility.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


A loosening of control by the anti-Western hardliners who currently dominate the 290-seat parliament could strengthen his hand to open Iran further to foreign trade and investment following last year's breakthrough nuclear deal.

"The people showed their power once again and gave more credibility and strength to their elected government," Rouhani said, adding he would work with anyone who won election to build a future for the industrialized, oil-exporting country.

The polls were seen by analysts as a potential turning point for Iran, where nearly 60 percent of its 80 million population is under 30.

Millions crowded polling stations on Friday to vote for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, which selects the country's highest authority, the supreme leader. Both bodies have been in the hands of hardliners for years.

Supporters of Rouhani, who promoted the nuclear deal, were pitted against hardliners close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who are wary of detente with Western countries.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


ACUMEN

Rouhani and key ally former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani were leading the race for the Assembly of Experts with most votes counted, and appeared to be sure of winning seats, early results released on Saturday showed.

Until now, the contest for this seat of clerical power was an unremarkable event, but not this time. Because of Khamenei's health and age, 76, the new assembly members who serve eight-year terms are likely to choose his successor. The next leader could well be among those elected this week.

The results were initially announced as final in an official statement. A later statement said the results were partial and a final tally would be announced in due course.

A breakdown of the results had independents on 44, reformists on 79, and hardliners on 106, the tally showed. A number of seats will be decided in run-offs in late April because no candidate won the required 25 percent of votes cast. Eight of the initial winners were women.

Analyst say the large number of independents may be significant as they could cooperate across ideological lines with Rouhani's government.

Whatever the outcome, Iran's political system places much power in the hands of the conservative Islamic establishment including the Guardian Council, which vets all laws passed by parliament.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
October 21, 2018
King Abdullah declines to renew part of Jordan's peace deal with Israel

By HERB KEINON