Always the first to cast his ballot, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called on people to “vote wisely” in elections to choose a new parliament and Assembly of Experts.
The outcome of the Islamic republic’s first vote since the signing of a historic nuclear deal could determine the success of leader Hassan Rouhani’s 2017 presidential bid.
Despite progress on the foreign policy front, some hardliners are resisting his attempts at reform on home soil. Others, such as activist Ebrahim Yazdi, are backing reform.
“The importance of this round of elections is that lines are clear and you can tell reformists from conservatives. And well, we’ll go and vote for the reformists,” he told euronews.
More than 6,000 candidates have been approved to stand in the parliamentary election. Among them is moderate candidate Mohammad Reza Aref.
“We made history when President Rouhani was elected in 2013. It was a day of change, and we have to continue this trend to be able to achieve President Rouhani’s plans,” he said.
Our correspondent, Javad Montazeri, added:
“In these elections, reformists and moderates have formed a coalition in the hope of winning back the majority from the conservatives, who have held it for three consecutive terms.”
Control of the 290-seat parliament could take until April to decide, as 25 percent of the vote is needed for an outright win.
The outcome of the vote on the 88-member Assembly is expected this weekend (February 27-28).
The Assembly of Experts, Iran’s top clerical body chooses the Supreme Leader — the nation’s most important official. Extra emphasis is being placed on this vote as Khamenei is in poor health and may soon have to be replaced.
His grandson’s application to run for membership of the Assembly was rejected.