According to Iran’s Interior Ministry, which gave the final results for the clerical assembly, moderates won 59 percent of the seats in the body.
At least 12 women have already been elected to parliament, including Fatemeh Hosseini, a 30-year old business administration expert, and six others will compete in the runoff vote.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who also heads the powerful Guardian Council, squeaked by in 16th place on the Assembly list for Tehran.
Rouhani joined forces with reformists to try to curtail the conservatives’ stranglehold on parliament and clear the way for political and social reforms.
The elections were the first to be held since the finalization of the nuclear agreement, which lifted global sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its atomic program.
Voters also chose members of Iran’s 290-seat parliament. The pro-Rouhani “List of Hope ” appears to have won all 30 parliamentary seats in Iranian capital, according to BBC.
“We fixed the issues that the GC had raised regarding electronic elections but finally, we were unable to convince them (about it)”, he added. So while there will be no practical change at this time in the way Iran does business at home or overseas, there are some positive signals that the electorate, long believed to be far more sympathetic to the West than its rulers, is giving whatever voice it can toward moderation.
Two leading conservatives, Ayatollahs Mohammad Yazdi and Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, were defeated in their bid for re-election to the important 88-member Assembly.
Rouhani was re-elected to the assembly in third place in Tehran, with his ally and former two-term president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in first position.
The WSJ cited Rouhani’s promises to “deliver financial dividends” from the nuclear deal, to help cure “double-digit unemployment, high inflation and a dearth of foreign investment that have plagued the country because of sanctions”.
Also, parliament’s role is limited, as every key decision remains in the hands of the ruling clerics headed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His policies led many conservatives to break with hard-liners, and the moderate conservatives’ support for the nuclear talks and subsequent agreement widened the rift.
Millions thronged polling stations hoping to secure changes to their benefit and prevent hardliners – who oppose the nuclear deal and political engagement with the West – from winning the contest.
The emerging outcome is largely what Rouhani, the moderate President, will have wished for.
“The next parliament will be like no other parliament in the history of Iran as no political faction will have the absolute say”, the newspaper said on its front-page.
If the moderates have their way, the next supreme leader will favor the expansion of democratic freedoms and greater openness toward the West. The hard-liners would likely prefer a leader even more hard-line than Khamenei, who is deeply suspicious of the United States and fears Western influence could undermine the Islamic Republic. Iran’s relationship with America is still complex and controversial.
The Coalition of Hope drew less support outside Tehran.