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Big win for Rowhani’s allies in Iran election second round

The reformist List of Hope that backs Rowhani gained 38 lawmakers in run-off polls that took place Friday, with conservatives winning 18

Published: Updated:

Reformist and moderate politicians allied with Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani won twice as many seats as their conservative rivals in the second round of parliamentary elections, official results said Saturday.

The reformist List of Hope that backs Rowhani gained 38 lawmakers in run-off polls that took place Friday, with conservatives winning 18 and independents 12, the interior ministry said.

The second ballot for 68 seats was needed as no candidate won the minimum 25 percent of votes in the first round of voting which took place on February 26, and its outcome will make the List of Hope the biggest single group in parliament when lawmakers are sworn in next month.

The second ballot to complete a new 290-seat parliament took place Friday because initial polls on February 26 did not produce clear winners in the 68 seats.

Rowhani's allies made huge gains in the first round of elections, on February 26, when voters drove many conservatives out of the parliament.

Results from Friday's second ballot will decide who has the most power when lawmakers are sworn in next month, opening or potentially closing a politically delicate path to even limited social and cultural change in the Islamic republic.

Tension over the vote's high stakes was dramatically underlined by a shooting involving supporters of rival candidates in a southern province. The rare political violence left four people wounded, a security official said.

Around 17 million citizens were eligible to vote on Friday in 55 towns and cities. There was no voting in Tehran as the List of Hope swept all 30 of the capital's 30 seats in the first round.