Reformists Seek to Extend Electoral Gains

Reformists Seek to Extend Electoral GainsReformists Seek to Extend Electoral Gains

The main objective of reformists is to win the second round of Majlis ballots, which are even "more important" than the primary votes, the head of the Reformist Policymaking Council said.

Speaking in Tehran on Tuesday, Mohammad Reza Aref added that reformists are optimistic that they can take most of the vacant seats in the April 29 runoffs for the 290-member parliament.

"Out of the remaining 69 seats, we should win at least 40 seats. From an optimistic point of view, we can even have up to 50 seats," ISNA quoted him as saying. The first round of the legislative polls was held on February 26 and 221 seats in 151 constituencies were filled. In 56 constituencies where the winners could not garner at least 25% of the votes, runoffs will be held with the participation of 138 hopefuls.

Results showed that reformists had gained 37.5% of the seats and principlists 46%. The remaining 16.5% belonged to government backers and independents. In the capital Tehran, which has the largest share of seats among all the 207 constituencies, reformists secured all 30 and gave a painful blow to their rival principlists.

Considering the fact that the last three parliaments were principlist-dominated, the returns can be seen as a major victory for reformists.

However, Aref warned that reformists' significant achievements in the primary elections should not cause them to underestimate the competition in the second round.

"Our promises to the people will be fulfilled if we get the majority in the 10th Majlis," he said. "If we reduce our election activities in the second round and people have smaller participation [and we lose the runoffs], we cannot pursue our plans and [meet] commitments in the Majlis very well."

Aref, the top election winner in Tehran, said reformists aim to make the next Majlis a "partner" of the government and put into practice fundamental economic reforms to help promote the principles of Resistance Economy, a set of policies outlined by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to increase the country's self-reliance and wean it from heavy dependence on oil revenues.