Campaigning begins for runoff elections to Iran's

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Scores of candidates have begun campaigning for runoff parliamentary elections scheduled for April 29, Iranian state TV reported on Thursday.

The 136 candidates are running for 68 seats in Iran's 290-seat parliament, for constituencies in which no candidate achieved a clear majority during February's general election.

The election will be held in 55 cities and towns across the country. There will be no runoff vote in the capital, Tehran, where moderates won all 30 seats two months ago.

In February, a bloc of reformists and moderate allies of President Hassan Rouhani won a majority in parliament and in a clerical body known as the Assembly of Experts, which is charged with choosing the country's next supreme leader. The results were seen as a major setback for hard-liners opposed to the landmark deal reached with world powers last year, which lifted international sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear activities.

The reformist bloc is fielding 58 candidates in the runoff, and the remainder includes hard-liners and several independent candidates.

The reformist camp has said it needs to win 40 seats in these elections to have an upper hand in the next parliament, which begins work in late May. Hard-liners are also hoping to boost their presence in the next parliament.

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