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Iran president's allies make stunning gains in Tehran

The clean sweep was a major fillip for the president, signalling overwhelming public backing in Theran for his landmark nuclear deal with world powers last year.



Tehran: Reformist allies of Hassan Rouhani won all 30 parliamentary seats in the Iranian capital, handing the moderate president a major boost on Sunday in elections seen as vital to his government.

The List of Hope, a pro-Rouhani coalition of moderates and reformists, was on course to wipe out its conservative rivals in Tehran with 90 per cent of ballots counted from Friday's vote.

The clean sweep was a major fillip for the president, signalling overwhelming public backing in the capital for his landmark nuclear deal with world powers last year that ended a 13-year standoff.

The rout was completed when state television said the head of the conservative list, Gholam-Ali Hadad Adel, a former parliament speaker, was lagging in 31st place and set to lose his seat.

The landslide in Tehran came after mixed results for the president's supporters in the provinces in the first elections since sanctions were lifted last month under the nuclear agreement.

Preliminary results from a second election that took place Friday, for the powerful Assembly of Experts, which monitors the work of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, were also heading Rouhani's way, and could see top conservative clerics eliminated.

If the Tehran numbers are confirmed, it will seal a stunning comeback for reformists, long sidelined after the disputed re-election in 2009 of hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which was followed by bloody street protests.

Reformists said that ballot was rigged and their two defeated candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have been held under house arrest since 2011.

The president joined forces with reformists to try to curtail the conservatives' stranglehold on parliament and clear the way for the passage of political and social reforms.

The head of the pro-Rouhani coalition, Mohammad Reza Aref, a former vice president, was in first place in voting in Tehran, with 1,323,643 votes.

The outspoken Ali Motahari, a conservative MP who switched sides and joined the slate headed by Aref, was in second spot with 1,185,398 votes.

Outside Tehran, where 108 seats out of 260 have been declared so far, 33 went to the main conservative list and 24 to the reformist List of Hope.

A further 28 seats went to independents -- of whom 13 are known to lean towards conservatives and 11 are closer to reformists, with four of no clear affiliation.

None of the remaining 23 seats had a clear winner, meaning a second round of voting will be needed, which is not expected until April or May.

From Zee News

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