Triumph for reformists in Iranian elections

Reformists and moderates made major gains in Iran's parliamentary election on Friday. The results strengthen the position of President Hassan Rouhani, who wants the country to open up more to the West. Can he push the country further towards democracy?

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Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

The Green Movement lives on

The victory of moderate lists associated with President Hassan Rouhani in the Iranian elections is a delayed consequence of the 2009 protests, the liberal paper Hürriyet Daily News believes:

“More than half of Iran’s 80 million inhabitants are under 30 years old. Younger generations are weary of the regime’s oppression and their country’s isolation from the world. In fact, the widespread dissatisfaction with the regime had already surfaced quite a long time ago with the protests against the disputed presidential elections in 2009 under the Green Movement. While the regime suppressed the demonstrations back then, the results of the latest elections clearly showed that it had already failed morally, and even the widespread disqualifications of candidates by the Guardian Council was not able to prevent moderates from achieving this victory.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Rouhani facing difficult task

The liberal daily Phileleftheros is also convinced that Iran's youth played a key role in the reformists' election victory:

“The inhabitants of Iran are mostly young, educated people who are hungry for a better life. They know that the West is not the great Satan the conservatives portray it as. They love travelling and technological progress and thanks to the Internet they are connected to the rest of the world. … But the reformists' victory doesn't mean that everything will change for the better as if by magic. The problems and challenges are enormous. … President Hassan Rouhani must try to change the country, to improve living standards and ensure more freedom and human rights for his people - and that is no simple task.”

El País (ES) /

Iran will open up

After the gains made by reformers and moderates in the parliamentary elections the centre-left daily El País hopes that the country could indeed open up to the West:

“The results obtained by the reformers who were allowed to run in the parliamentary elections testify to popular support for the thaw in relations with the West envisaged by President Hassan Rouhani. And in a country deeply influenced by a stringent military theocracy accused of violating human rights, any sign of a more open stance is good news. … Most Iranians know no other form of government than the ayatollah regime introduced 37 years ago. But in the Internet era it is increasingly unlikely that they will continue to accept a form of society that stands in contradiction to everything they see on their mobile phones.”

Zaman (TR) /

Good for foreign policy, bad for domestic policy

The success of President Hassan Rouhani's camp and the poor results of the conservative hardliners in the elections won't bring about immediate change in Iran, the Islamic conservative daily Zaman predicts:

“This is less a sign of far-reaching change than of a profound crisis in Iranian politics. It looks like this crisis will considerably hamper Rouhani's work. … Nonetheless, the election results send a clear signal that Iran is now a country one can work with. That means that Iran will quickly shake off the effects of the sanctions that shattered its economy. We can safely say that in the near future Iran will pursue a foreign policy that puts more peace and integration with the West on the agenda.”