Aref Reformists’ Choice for Majlis Speakership

Aref Reformists’ Choice for Majlis Speakership
Aref Reformists’ Choice for Majlis Speakership

A member of the Reformist Policymaking Council said the camp considers the top vote-grabber in the Tehran constituency, who also heads the council, to be its main choice for the speakership of the new parliament.

A coalition of reformists and moderates had a strong showing against conservative contenders in the parliamentary elections in February and April.

The hopefuls on a joint list presented by the coalition claimed all the 30 seats representing the capital Tehran in the 290-member parliament, with prominent reformist Mohammad Reza Aref standing at the top.

They managed to end the three-term dominance of conservatives over the legislature.

Reformist, conservative and independent lawmakers convened separately on Saturday after the opening session of the new parliament to formally select their nominees for speaker and discuss choices for the 12-member presiding board.

Rumors have swirled about a possible compromise between Aref and former speaker Ali Larijani to share the senior lawmaker's seat during the four-year term.

Larijani faced strong criticism from fellow conservatives for featuring on the winning reformist-moderate list, known as "List of Hope".

In an interview with IRNA on Friday, former reformist interior minister, Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, said, "Mr. Aref is the final choice of the Reformist Policymaking Council as the camp's nominee for Majlis speaker because we believe that the people's votes in Tehran and other cities showed they tend to favor the agenda represented by Mr. Aref."

He praised the healthy rivalry between Aref and Larijani for the top position and cautioned against creating commotion and launching smear campaigns.

Asked about how likely it is for Larijani to turn his back on reformists and join the conservative critics of the government's reform plans in case he is not elected to lead the parliament, Mousavi Lari said, "Our impression of Mr. Larijani is that he is a wise moderate principlist. But if he does what you said, it would mean that he has never broken ranks with hardline conservatives and that his support for the moderation agenda was a tactical move to get reelected. I believe that … Larijani has not adopted moderation as a tactic."