The first round of elections for the 8th Majlis were held on 14 March. All 290 seats in the Iranian parliament were up for election. The results for 190 seats (66% of the total) were decided during the first round. The remaining seats will be decided in the second round of voting next month.
The results indicate that the principlist have won 71% of the seats decided in the first round, with reformists and independents winning 29% of the seats.
The principlists themselves were divided into two groups:
- The United Front of Priniplists (UFP)
- The Inclusive Coalition of Principlists (ICP)
The United Front of Priniplists represented the extremists within the Islamic Republic. This group strongly supports Ahmadinejad administration. The UFP candidates did well in Tehran, winning more than half of the seats decided in the first round. They did not do as well in provinces, winning some 25% of the seats.
The Inclusive Coalition of Principlists (ICP) represented more traditional and less extremist wing of the principlist movement. They are regarded as the critics of Ahmadinejad’s government. They did well in the provinces, winning 40% of the seats decided in the first round; and nearly half of the seats in Tehran.
Ahmadinejad supporters at UFP will be held to a minority role in the next parliament, controlling less than 30% of the seats.
The reformists were divided into two groups:
- The Coalition of Reformist Groups (CRG)
- The National Confidence Party (NCP)
The Coalition of Reformist Groups represented the main reformist movement in Iran. A great majority of their candidates were disqualified by the government (the Interior Ministry and the Guardian Council), including their better known candidates.
The National Confidence Party of Mehdi Karoubi is also regarded as part of the reformist movement, although their platform calls for more limited reforms than CRG’s. Many of their candidates were also disqualified by the government.
CRG and NCP endorsed very similar list of candidates for the elections. Together they won 33% of the seats decided in the provinces but their candidates in Tehran did not win a seat in the first round and need to compete for the remaining seats in Tehran during next month’s second round of voting. They have won 29% of all seats (Tehran and provinces) decided in the first round.
The government seems to have been successful in limiting the reformists and the moderates to some 30% of the seats in the 8th Majlis, which is still a remarkable number considering most of the reformist candidates were not allowed to run in the elections. The principlists will control some 70% of the seat. But their ranks are divided. Pro-Ahmadinejad UFP is expected to get less than 30% of the seats, with some 40% of the seats going to ICP.