Iran to hold second round in parliamentary elections

11 March 2012

First round in Iran’s parliamentary elections over, but 65 seats still need to be filled

A total of 225 members of parliament were elected in the first round of voting in Iran’s parliamentary election held on 2 March.

The remaining 65 seats will be filled in the second round of voting in the election, which is expected to take place in April. The vast majority of the seats won were acquired by supporters of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Gholam Ali-Haddad Adel, whose daughter is married to Khamenei’s son, were among those who won places in the 290-seat parliament.

The result means that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely to face a more hostile parliament during his remaining 18 months in office and it is more likely that a Khamenei loyalist will become his successor.

Reformist voters were largely absent from the election, as human rights reports showed an increasing number of arrests of opposition supporters took place in the run-up to the vote. Reformists aiming to be re-elected as MPs even asked their supporters to remain at home on election day, saying there was little point in contesting. However, the reformist former president Mohammad Khatami caused outrage among fellow reformists by casting his vote in the election.

Local reports say Khatami voted because he was afraid he would be put under house arrest, as happened to opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi last year after supporting protests against the regime.

Khatami defended his decision to vote, saying he had done so for the sake of national interest and in the hope of promoting reform within Iran.

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