PHOTO: The office of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani celebrates with an Instagram photo on Sunday
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UPDATE 1330 GMT: The final Parlimentary count has confirmed the centrist-reformist List of Hope has captured all 30 seats in Tehran.
The head of Iran’s conservative bloc, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel — a member of the Supreme Leader’s inner circle and potential challenger to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani — finished 31st.
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said turnout in Tehran was 50% and was 62% throughout the country.
Gholam Ali Haddad Adel in Parliament today:
The hardline daily Kayhan is not happy about the “Big Lie” of the outcome, claiming 153 conservative MPs to 111 for the centrist-reformist bloc in the 290-seat Majlis.
The reformist Shargh prefers to show the 30 victorious centrist-reformist MPs from Tehran:
UPDATE 1300 GMT: Former President Mohammad Khatami has put out a written message, “People demand fulfilment of slogans and plans which the President has offered and for which people voted.”
The regime has tried to restrict Khatami’s influence by forbidding any quotation or photograph of the reformist, who was President from 1997 to 2005.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Iran’s centrist-reformist bloc is preparing to celebrate an unexpected, sweeping election victory in Tehran, while results elsewhere point to an uncertain balance of power in Parliament.
The centrists are linked to President Rouhani and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, both of whom would be boosted by wins in the ballots for the Majlis and the Assembly of Experts, the body which chooses the Supreme Leader. The win would be even more dramatic for the reformists, who have been suppressed for more than a decade by detentions, restrictions on their communications, and intimidation.
The centrist-reformist List of Hope continues to lead in the poll for all 30 MPs. Even the leader of the conservative bloc, the Supreme Leader’s ally Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, is only 31st.
In the Assembly of Experts election in Tehran, allies of Rouhani and Rafsanjani won 15 of the 16 Assembly of Experts positions, with the former President leading the poll and the the current President 3rd. The present chair of the Assembly, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, lost his seat, while Guardian Council head Ayatollah Jannati survived in 16th.
The outcome is a defiant response to the effort of the Guardian Council, appointed by the Supreme Leader and the judiciary, to restrict the election through thousands of disqualifications with only 90 reformists approved to run for the 290-seat Majlis. Regime factions, including the Leader, appear to have underestimated the possibility of a centrist-reformist coalition to galvanize support.
A “Mixed” Parliament…So Far
Outside Tehran, conservatives — who have had a tight grip on Parliament since 2004 — have taken the majority of seats while not being certain of overall control of the Majlis.
Two different, unconfirmed counts circulated on Sunday. Mehr had 99 seats guaranteed for conservatives, 55 for the centrist-reformist alliance, and 53 for independents. Fars put the result outside Tehran at Conservatives 107, Centrist-Reformist 89, and Independent 27.
The difference in the counts appeared to be the prediction of which Independent candidates already have allegiances to one of the two main blocs.
The Guardian Council’s purge of 80% of Assembly candidates also should guarantee conservative control despite the Tehran landslide for the Rouhani-Rafsanjani bloc. Some conservatives ran unopposed after the Council disqualified all of their challengers.