Campaigning Begins for Majlis Runoff Elections

Campaigning Begins for Majlis Runoff Elections Campaigning Begins for Majlis Runoff Elections

Hopefuls for the April 29 Majlis runoff elections could begin their one-week campaigning at Thursday midnight.

In the second round of the legislative polls, 136 candidates will vie for 68 parliamentary seats in 21 provinces.

The first ballot was held earlier this year on February 26, in which 290 seats were up for grabs by over 4,700 contenders in 207 constituencies across 31 provinces.

Out of 55 million Iranians eligible to vote, the results showed nearly 34 million participated in the event, a 62% voter turnout.

The returns said there were 222 winners in the elections, but the fate of the remaining seats in 55 constituencies, in which nobody could garner at least 25% of the votes, is to be decided in the second ballot.

Mohammad Hossein Moqimi, the head of Election Headquarters, said in an interview on Thursday that 17 million Iranians are eligible to cast their ballots in legislative runoffs in 15,350 polling stations, IRNA reported.

"Over 19 million ballot papers are printed and sent to 21 provinces, together with ballot boxes and other equipment," he added.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Hossein Ali Amiri, said on April 18 that in any of the constituencies, those who had cast their ballots in the first round can only vote in the same constituency, along with those who had not voted at all.

"Hence, those who voted in constituencies in which there will be no second round cannot cast their vote [in other constituencies]," he said.

  Patriotic Duty

Mohammad Reza Aref, head of the Reformist Policymaking Council, who topped the list of election winners in the capital Tehran in the first round, stressed the need for the strong participation of people in the second round.

Speaking in an election meeting in Golestan Province on Thursday, Aref urged all the eligible people to vote in line with their "national and patriotic duty".

Aref said in the next Majlis, reformists will seek solidarity with rivals to have a unified parliament that lends a hand to the government in settling serious problems of the country and blazing a trail toward development.

The top election winner said reforming the economy in line with the Resistance Economy, a set of policies proposed by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei promoting self-reliance, will be the watchword of a reformist-majority Majlis.

"Out of the vacant 68 seats, we hope to secure at least 40," he said, adding that reformists, along with "friends" who back the government, will be able to have a solid majority if they succeed.

The results of the February polls indicated that no sides had gained the majority. Principlists had 46% of the seats and reformists won 37.5%, while the remaining 16.5% belonged to government backers and independents.

However, in the capital Tehran, which has the largest share of seats among all constituencies, reformists, in an alliance with government backers, secured all 30 and landed a heavy blow to their rival principlists.

In view of the fact that the last three parliaments were principlist-dominated, the first round returns could be seen as a big victory for reformists.

The closing session of the current parliament will be held on May 24 and the new parliament will open on May 28.