Reformists Aim for Gov’t-Allied Parliament

Reformists Aim for Gov’t-Allied Parliament Reformists Aim for Gov’t-Allied Parliament

Reformists are looking to form a parliament that will back the government and its plans to make social reforms and revive the economy by boosting foreign trade and investment, a leader of the camp said.

“We want a Majlis that can take charge, deserves to represent the nation and supports and aids the government in implementing its plans,” Mohammad Reza Aref was quoted by IRNA as telling reformists at a conference in Tehran on Thursday, days ahead of the Feb. 26 parliamentary poll.

Reformists have struck up a coalition with backers of moderate President Hassan Rouhani, called the Alliance of Reformists and Government Supporters, and agreed on a 30-strong joint list of candidates for the capital Tehran.

The decision for establishing the alliance came after the Guardians Council, a body authorized to screen candidates and laws, disqualified an overwhelming proportion of reformists among over 12,000 hopefuls initially registered for the vote, leaving the reformist camp short of enough promising, popular figures in the field.

“We want a Majlis that makes best use of its monitoring authority to effectively handle the country’s affairs, one that does not impeach the likes of Faraji Dana and whose top priority is creating an economic boom,” the head of Reformist Policymaking Council said.

Reza Faraji Dana served under Rouhani as minister of science, research and technology for about a year before being dismissed in August 2014 following an impeachment by the conservative-dominated parliament.

Rouhani, who took office in 2013, championed negotiations with major powers over Tehran’s nuclear dispute, which culminated in a landmark deal last year

The accord, formally referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was put into force on Jan. 16 to give Iran relief from international sanctions in return for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

  Eying Victories

Aref said his camp is seeking to send to the parliament those who would help seal victories in economic, cultural and social domains comparable to that delivered by JCPOA.

Elias Hazrati, another reformist enlisted for next week’s vote, also addressed the conference and called on voters to show discretion by rejecting those who do not like to see the country benefit from the nuclear deal.

“We should make a … wise choice, because we face a dangerous current that opposes JCPOA.”

The manager of the pro-reform daily Etemad said the parliamentary contest between reformists and conservatives effectively amounts to a showdown between the proponents and opponents of the action plan.

“We are ready for a major decisive battle on Feb. 26 between the backers and opponents of JCPOA,” Hazrati, who is also a co-founder of National Trust Party, added.

Former lawmaker and current reformist hopeful, Mostafa Kavakebian, hoped that the upcoming election would result in sweeping changes to the parliament by giving reformists a majority.

“There will be a shakeup in the Majlis.”

Ali Motahhari, who broke ranks with fellow conservatives to join the pro-Rouhani list of parliamentary candidates, appealed to the people to turn out at the polls and elect representatives who would help promote the rule of law.

“Everything should be dealt with on the basis of the constitution so as to foster national unity that has been harmed in recent years,” he said.