News / Middle East

    Reformists in Lead as Iran's Parliamentary Vote Counting Continues

    An Iranian woman 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, Feb. 26, 2016.
    An Iranian woman 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, Feb. 26, 2016.
    Edward Yeranian

    Iran continues to count votes Sunday from its parliamentary election, with final results in most races expected Monday.

    Partial results indicate major gains for reformists and moderates who favor engagement with the West.

    President Hassan Rouhani and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani are also leading the race for membership in the Assembly of Experts. The influential body monitors the work of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on Iran's foreign policy, and could choose the next supreme leader.

    Partial results point to hardliners losing ground in the 290-seat legislature. For Tehran's 30 seats, initial results released by the government showed at least 26 reformists among the front-runners.  

    Iran's official media on Saturday quoted Rouhani as saying the election has given the government more credibility and clout.

    "The competition is over. It's time to open a new chapter in Iran's economic development based on domestic abilities and international opportunities," the official IRNA news agency reported him as saying.

    Election test of nuclear deal

    The vote was the first election since the country's nuclear deal with world powers took effect.

    The final results may provide the first clue as to whether key Western proponents of the deal will receive what they hoped for; a more open, moderate Iran.

    The outcome could be interpreted as a comment on the level of support for the policies of Rouhani, who is up for re-election next year. Rouhani has made the nuclear agreement a key objective of his administration.

    Iranians hold their identification cards as they line up outside a polling station at Massoumeh shrine during the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections at a polling station in the holy city of Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.
    Iranians hold their identification cards as they line up outside a polling station at Massoumeh shrine during the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections at a polling station in the holy city of Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.

    Voting for future

    Iranian State TV called Friday a “great day for the nation,” as citizens across the country turned out to vote for the country's parliament and the Guardian Council, which selects Iran's Supreme Leader.

    State TV showed voters across Iran giving their reasons for their choices.  A man with a young child said he was “voting for his children's future,” while an older woman said she wanted to “foil Iran's enemies, who are plotting against the country.”

    A correspondent for Iran's Al Alam TV at a major Tehran polling station said turnout was “beyond expectations,” and that “long lines of voters had shown up,” to “express their support for their country and its Islamic system.”

    An Iranian woman displays her ink-stained finger after voting in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.
    An Iranian woman displays her ink-stained finger after voting in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Political analyst Mohamed Ali Mirzani told the TV Iranian electors like to vote at odds to the way foreign countries want them to vote in order to quash threats posed from abroad.  He said voters know their participation is important in deciding the fate of their country.

    Large turnout

    Newspapers reported a huge turnout at the polls Friday, including many young voters.

    Polls had been scheduled to close at 6:00 p.m., but remained open much later in some cases. State television showed long lines both in Tehran and in polling places around the country.

    Some 55 million Iranians were registered to cast ballots for members of the conservative-dominated 290-seat parliament as well as the 88-member Assembly of Experts.

    • Iranians stand in line at a polling station during the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections in Qom, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iranian women stand in line at a polling station during the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • An Iranian man and a woman check the names of candidates from the list before voting for the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections at a polling station in the holy city of Qom, 130kms south of the capital Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • In this photo released by official website of the office of Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses election officials in Tehran, Jan. 21, 2016.
    • Iranian voters, left, arrive at a polling station to vote for their country's parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections as election staff receive them in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • An Iranian woman 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, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani votes in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • An Iranian woman displays her ink-stained finger after voting in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iran's former Parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri fills in his ballot during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iranians vote in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iranian former vice president and candidate for parliamentary election Mohammad Reza Aref and his wife show their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballots during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    February 26, 2016 8:53 PM
    USA & Europe must support democracy.
    At least there is election on regular basis in Iran and Syria.
    But there is no election in Saudi Arab, Bahrain, Kuwait, Uae, Qatar and Oman. Even then USA & Europe support dictators as to achieve their goals. Because these countries are Masters in taking Dictation without any hesitation.

    by: Sohrab from: Tehran, Iran
    February 26, 2016 2:30 PM
    In recent years, after the implementation of western democracy and human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, and most recently, Syria, and especially after the USA imposed indiscriminate sanctions against both Iranian government and civilian population, Iranian people lost their faith in the west and many increasingly believe that the western way of governing and statesmanship is not a good example for Iran.
    In Response

    by: Sohrab from: Tehran, Iran
    February 27, 2016 8:01 AM
    @Marcus Aurelius II NJ USA
    Iranian government is absolutely more skillful than the US and Israeli governments in driving other countries to the hell of fire and blood, but, morally it's not acceptable for them and Iranian people to let such things which only produces blind hate against our nation.
    In Response

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    February 26, 2016 9:05 PM
    Islamic Republic of Iran, that says it all. No constitution, just the koran to dictate everything.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 26, 2016 8:39 PM
    These nations were attacked because they were judged to be a threat to the security of the United States. Their murderous dictators were eliminated along with their despotic governments. They were given a chance to become prosperous inclusive democracies. That they threw those chances away due to political corruption, tribal wars, theological prejudice was their own doing. Iran and North Korea are also perceived as potential threats to the United States. If that view sways the US government sufficiently it will use whatever force is necessary to eliminate those governments too no matter what the consequences. No one should be in any doubt. To credibly threaten the United States is to commit suicide. Iran's government is playing with fire. There are many in the US who would have eliminated it a long time ago. It could still happen.

    by: Sohrab from: Tehran, Iran
    February 26, 2016 2:19 PM
    Although ethnically and religiously Iran is one of the most diverse countries in the world (we have Shia, Sunni, Christian, Zoroastrian, and even one reserved seat for Jews in our parliament) and while most of our neighbors are burning in flames, be it Afghanistan and Pakistan on the east, or Iraq, Turkey and Syria on the west, we have one of the most secure and stable countries in the world. That's why recently Iranians never think about an alternative for this government.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 26, 2016 8:55 PM
    Hey Sohrab _ The greatest threat to all the Sunni Muslim countries, kingdoms and emirates is free democratic elections, because every leader of any Sunni Muslim country, kingdom or emirate would be ousted from power now? .. Freedom and democracy would destroy all the Sunni Muslim Sharia Islamic law governed countries, kingdoms and emirates? .. Why do you think they oppose Syria, [it's because of their free democratic elections, and that's why they support the terrorists to overthrow Syria to stop those elections? .. Think about it?

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 26, 2016 2:06 PM
    Every Republican candidate has pledged that if elected he will tear up Obama's nuclear deal with Iran on the first day. The US still has the economic might by itself to crush Iran, Russia, China, anyone. Majorities in both houses of Congress are champing at the bit to enact legislation that would do exactly that. Those majorities are also Republicans but there are Democrats who agree with them too.

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