Reformists Close Ranks to Win Elections

Reformists Close Ranks to Win ElectionsReformists Close Ranks to Win Elections

A senior reformist said the establishment of the Reformists’ Policymaking Council, in which nearly all reformist groups participated, shows they have reached consensus about four months before the upcoming elections.

Mohammad Reza Aref, the former candidate of reformists in the 2013 presidential elections, said in a press conference on Tuesday that reformists are trying to promote solidarity to win the parliamentary elections scheduled for Feb. 26, IRNA reported.

“The Reformists’ Policymaking Council will determine measures and strategies for the elections,” he said. “Provincial offices [of the reformists’ front] are to choose candidates [in constituencies across the country]”. In a meeting of reformists in Tehran on Sunday, Aref was elected chairman of the council.

Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, a senior member of the Association of Combatant Clerics, and Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi, secretary-general of the Assembly of Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers, were elected as deputy chairmen.

Asked whether reformists are going to cooperate or compete with the pro-government groups like Moderation and Development Party, Aref said the reformists’ front has close ties with the party and he hopes the party will participate in the policymaking council.

“We have always been looking to reach compromise with pro-government parties to provide a single list of candidates,” he said.

Praising reformist efforts to achieve complete unity among them, Aref hoped that rivals would unite.

“We would like to see that the two impressive lists [of candidates, one for reformists and one for principlists] are presented for the [Majlis] elections.”

Aref approved the proposal to form a “partial coalition” between reformists and principlists, requiring the two fronts to share a number of candidates. “We should introduce at least 30 common candidates to be the junction of the two sides,” Aref said. “But the rivals [principlists] have not given consent over the matter yet.”

Asked about reformists’ forecast about voter turnout, he said that they think the turnout will be higher than the previous parliamentary elections of 2012 and are making efforts to increase the voter turnout to 75%. It seems that principlists are also well-prepared for the elections. Last month, a key principlist figure, Alireza Zakani, said a broad-based principlist alliance is planned to lead efforts to foster unity among principlists with a view to gaining more votes in the upcoming elections. Zakani also said principlists are likely to introduce a list of candidates by October.