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Parliamentary Runoff Elections Significant
National

Parliamentary Runoff Elections Significant

A former lawmaker stressed the need for the strong participation of Iranians in the second ballot of the parliamentary elections.   
In an interview with ISNA on Monday, Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Reza Akrami, a member of the principlist Combatant Clergy Association, said if people want their favorite factions to be stronger in the next parliament, they should cast their votes in the second round of the legislative polls scheduled for April 29.
"We should finish our work if we want to see our favorable outcome in the elections, otherwise we cannot make objections about the results," Akrami said.
The first round of the parliamentary votes was held on February 26, in which from the 55 million people eligible to vote, 34 million cast their votes in 120,000 ballot boxes distributed across 207 constituencies in 31 provinces.
Results suggested that 221 Majlis seats were filled in the primary vote, but the fate of 69 vacant seats of the total 290 is to be decided in the April runoffs, in which 138 contenders will contest in 56 constituencies.
According to the electoral law, in any constituencies where the winners cannot secure at least 25% of the votes, a runoff will be held.
Principlists had gained the bigger share of the ballot, followed by reformists and then government backers and independents.
In 151 constituencies from the 207 where the results were final and no runoffs were needed to be held, principlists had secured 46% of the vote and 37.5% belonged to reformists, while government backers and independents garnered the remaining 16.5%.

***Speculations on Speaker Dismissed   
In a related development, head of the Reformist Policymaking Council, Mohammad Reza Aref, denied media reports claiming that he has entered into talks with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on becoming the parliament speaker.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Aref, who won the top place among 30 parliamentary seats in the constituency of the capital Tehran, said he had never made any contact with Larijani about chairing the next parliament and lawmakers should decide about the position.
"Although there are media speculations [about who will take the post]… the votes of 290 members of the next Majlis will determine the composition of the presiding board," he said.
"We believe all factions of the parliament should be involved in the administration of the Majlis."
Aref added that the current objective of reformists is to encourage people to have widespread participation in the April runoffs.  
Some news outlets claimed in recent days that talks are underway between Aref and Larijani on a plan that envisages that in the first two years of the parliament, reformists will vote in favor of Larijani in the elections of the presiding board to help him maintain his position and in exchange, principlists backing Larijani will vote for Aref in the elections of the next two years to let him replace Larijani.
Iranian lawmakers are elected every four years. The election for the presiding board of parliament, which includes 12 members led by the speaker, is held annually.

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