Reuters reports: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won a strong vote of confidence and reformist partners secured surprise gains in parliament in early results from elections that could speed up the Islamic Republic’s emergence from years of isolation.
While gains by moderates and reformists in Friday’s polls were most evident in the capital, where they won all Tehran’s 30 seats according to early results, the sheer scale of the advances there suggests a legislature more friendly to the pragmatist Rouhani has emerged as a distinct possibility.
A loosening of control by the anti-Western hardliners who currently dominate the 290-seat parliament could strengthen his hand to open Iran further to foreign trade and investment following last year’s breakthrough nuclear deal.
A reformist-backed list of candidates aligned with Rouhani was on course to win all 30 parliamentary seats in Tehran, initial results released on Sunday showed. Top conservative candidate Gholamali Haddad Adel was set to lose his seat. [Continue reading…]