05/02/2016, 13.07
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Tehran’s new parliament increasingly reformist and open to women

by Darius Karimian

After the second round of the elections two days ago, the reformists can count on 133 seats; the conservatives 125 and for the first time they lose their majority. There are also 17 women, mostly reformist. A female member of parliament was blocked by the Guardian Council for having shaken hands with a man. The doubts of Khamenei.


Tehran (AsiaNews) The new Iranian parliament will have more reformists than conservatives and an increased number of women, 17 in fact, thus first time exceeding the number of representatives of the Shiite clergy in parliament.

After the elections of February last,  runoff elections were held on 29 April and awarded victory to the reformist group of President Hassan Rouhani and the moderates. Out of 290 seats in total, the reformist group can count on 133 seats; they failed to gain a majority, but they  beat the conservatives, who now hold 125 seats. The remaining seats went to independent and minority representatives. It is the first time that the Conservatives have lost their majority.

The elections two-days ago also gave victory to four more women. In the first round, 14 other women had won a seat, but the victory of one of them, Minoo Khaleghi, the third most voted in Isfahan, was canceled by the Guardian Council, because - they say – she has shaken hands with a man who is not her relative. She is still waiting to find out what her fate will be because the Ministry of the Interior and President Rouhani have appealed against the Council decision.

So far there are 17 women present in parliament, outnumbering by one the representatives of the Shiite clergy, and the majority is reformist (see photo from the newspaper "Shahrvand"). It is the first time that the Iranian Parliament has had such a high number of women (9%). The outgoing parliament had only 9.

The Iranian parliament has very limited powers because its laws must be approved by the Guardian Council and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In any case it will legislate elements of economic reforms, that are both urgent and necessary after years of embargo. The supreme leader, despite  having supported Rouhani’s efforts on reaching agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue and lifting of sanctions, seems uninterested in supporting a second term for the reformist president. However, these elections we have clearly demonstrated the will of the people to continue economic reform and open up more to the international community.

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