Reformist-Moderate Alliance for Majlis Elections

Reformist-Moderate Alliance for Majlis Elections  Reformist-Moderate Alliance for Majlis Elections

A top reformist official said the reformists will enter into an alliance with pro-government groups, known as moderates, for this month's parliamentary elections.

Speaking with reporters in Tehran on Friday, Mohammad Reza Aref, the head of Reformist Policymaking Council, said intensive meetings are being held between reformists and moderates in the countdown to the February 26 elections to put together a joint list of candidates.

"Some representatives from moderate groups, including Moderation and Development Party, will be on our list," IRNA quoted Aref as saying, who is the leading reformist candidate in the capital.

Referring to partnership with moderates, Aref said although there will be give-and-take, all reformists should be assured that their agenda would not be sacrificed for short-term interests.

As a candidate of reformists, Aref withdrew from the 2013 presidential election, in what was seen as an electoral coalition with Rouhani, who ultimately won. On the Assembly of Experts election, Aref said reformists will soon begin efforts to prepare a list fielding candidates for all seats of the assembly, which are 16 for Tehran Province.

Aref, who is also a former vice president, discussed the controversial vetting process of Majlis candidates.

"Inclusion of some senior reformists, whose qualifications have not been approved by the Guardians Council, could have added a heavy weight to the list of reformist candidates," he said.

"We believe that if prominent, revolutionary and faithful reformists were approved, we could have a more popular election."

The initial ruling by the Guardians Council, an election vetting body, to qualify 40% of candidates and reject an overwhelming number of reformists among others last month met with the strong criticism of reformists.

This is while Siamak Rahpeyk, the spokesman for the Central Elections Monitoring Board—a body affiliated to the Guardians Council that is tasked with vetting candidates, said on Saturday that an additional 1,500 hopefuls have been cleared to run in the election in the final phase of vetting process, along with 4,800 who were previously approved.

With the new approvals, the total number of nominees approved for the Majlis race has reached 6,300, which means that 55% of a record number of 12,123 candidates have been approved.

The former presidential candidate said reformists want to save the country and the system from "extremist elements" and to do so there is no other way than elections.

"In the upcoming elections, two groups will be rivals. One wants low voter turnout to win and the other wants high voter turnout," he said.

"We hope that with mass participation, people will break the deadlock and not let hopelessness to spread in the society."

Iranians are scheduled to cast their votes in the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections on February 26.

There are 290 Majlis seats distributed between 207 electoral districts. With 30 seats, Tehran has the largest delegation of any district.

Aref said if the reformists gain a majority of votes in the upcoming elections, they would greatly help Rouhani to honor its election promises.

"We will be partners of the government, but we would also fully use the capacities of Majlis to monitor the government," he said.

Iran’s incumbent Parliament is majority principlist, meaning a shift in power in favor of the reformists will be very difficult. So the reformists have their work cut out for them if they want to sway the voters.