President Hassan Rouhani won a resounding vote of confidence and his reformist allies won 29 out of the 30 seats reserved for the capital Tehran in parliamentary elections that could speed Iran’s post-sanctions opening to the world, early results released on Saturday showed.Tens of millions thronged polling stations on Friday for a twin vote to the 290-seat parliament and the 88-member Assembly of Experts, which selects the country’s highest authority, the supreme leader.President Rouhani, whose reformists allies made gains in the twin contests for parliament and a leadership body, said Iran’s election had given the government more credibility and clout.“The competition is over. It’s time to open a new chapter in Iran’s economic development based on domestic abilities and international opportunities,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. He added that the government would cooperate with anyone elected to build Iran’s future.”The people showed their power once again and gave more credibility and strength to their elected government.”An initial tally of 1.5 million votes counted in Tehran – fewer than one-fifth of the capital’s elibigle voters – showed Rouhani and his pragmatic ally, ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, leading the race for the Assembly of Experts, according to interior ministry figures.A ministry statement said senior reformist Mohammed Reza Aref led the race for parliamentary seats among candidates in Tehran. Aref “so far based on the counted votes is at the top of the list followed by five (other) reformists,” it said. Seventh on the list was a senior conservative, it said.Aref, a Stanford-educated former presidential candidate and minister, who served as vice-president to the former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, leads the reformist list in Friday’s contest in Tehran, where more than 1,000 candidates are competing for just 30 seats in parliament.The twin poll was seen by analysts as a potential turning point for Iran, where nearly 60 percent of the 80 million population is under 30.
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