Reformists, Pro-Rouhani Moderates Forge Alliance

Reformists, Pro-Rouhani Moderates Forge AllianceReformists, Pro-Rouhani Moderates Forge Alliance

Reformists and moderates struck up an alliance and released a joint list of parliamentary candidates on Tuesday to compete for the 30-seat constituency of the capital Tehran in the legislative vote later this month.

Speaking at Tehran's prestigious Amirkabir University of Technology the previous day, a prominent reformist figure Mohammad Reza Aref said, "As a first step to effectively address popular demands in the incoming Majlis, we decided to join forces with the government's backers under a coalition titled Alliance of Reformists and Government Supporters".

The Guardians Council, a 12-strong body of clerics and jurists tasked with vetting candidates, has barred an overwhelming number of registered reformists from standing in the Feb. 26 poll.

The mass rejection drew criticism from the camp and the government of moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

"A more competitive election could be expected if certain people, who are loyal to the establishment, were allowed to stay in the race, but unfortunately many distinguished faces faithful to the revolution were disqualified," Aref said. "Despite this, reformists prioritize national interests over factional ones and pursue a strategy aimed at encouraging as high an electoral turnout as possible."