High hopes for Rowhani's reformists as run-off polls close in Iran

A run-off parliamentary election took place in Iran Friday, with President Hassan Rowhani's allied reformists hoping to solidify wins against the country's hardline Muslim clerics.

The remaining 68 of parliament's 290 seats are up for grabs. The first results are due to be announced on Saturday evening.

Some 17 million Iranians were registered to take part in the vote, according to the Interior Ministry, which had extended voting in 55 districts for two hours until 8 pm (1530 GMT).

In southern Iran, four people were injured after shots were fired at a polling station, the ministry reported earlier Friday.

The shooting occurred in the city of Mamasani in the Fars province, according to local media. Police have reportedly identified the shooter and are investigating.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry could provide no further details.

The first round of voting in February saw a victory for reformist candidates allied with President Hassan Rowhani against hardliners. Reformists in Tehran, for example, won all 30 parliamentary seats outright.

A fundamental reason for the hardliners' electoral defeat in February was coalition talks prior to the elections between reformists and the moderate conservatives. Unlike the three previous legislative periods, conservatives decided against a coalition with hardliners.

According to observers, the run-off is unlikely to change the direction of the new parliament, with the results from the first round in large cities such as Tehran and Isfahan supporting reformists. These estimates hold that reformists will dominate the new parliament, with the next legislative period due to commence on May 28.

The election results have been seen as an indication of Iranians' support for their reformist president, who limited the country's nuclear programme to obtain the lifting of international sanctions in a recent deal with international powers.

With Rowhani reformists in parliament, the way is also paved for his re-election in June next year.

Last update: Fri, 29/04/2016 - 19:53
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