Reformists See Reversal of Fortunes

Reformists See Reversal of FortunesReformists See Reversal of Fortunes

Reformists seek to augment their role and influence in state affairs by striving to maintain the momentum that emerged after their strong showing in the February parliamentary elections, a former reformist lawmaker said.

"If we manage to preserve our presence in the political arena, over time the tide will turn in our favor," Ali Shakourirad was quoted by ISNA as saying in an address to a gathering of fellow reformists in Mashhad, in Khorasan Razavi Province, on Friday. A pro-government coalition of reformists and moderates outperformed conservative contenders in the national election in February and April.

They swept all the 30 seats exclusive to Tehran in the 290-member chamber and also made gains, though not as impressive, in other cities.

  Steadfastness Paved the Way

Shakourirad said reformists' persistence in asserting their unified agenda was the key to their long-awaited electoral victory. "Despite pressures, we remained reformist both in approach and in our objectives and this was what guaranteed our endurance in the political sphere," he said.

"Initially, we only aimed to block hardliners from getting into the legislature, but thanks to the support from the public and political activists, we eventually won and even targeted the speaker's seat."   

Ali Larijani, a 59-year-old moderate conservative, was re-elected for the ninth year in a row to lead the Majlis, Iran's top law-making institution. He defeated reformist Mohammed Reza Aref, who topped the list of vote-getters in the Tehran constituency. However, both the moderate conservatives and the reformists support President Hassan Rouhani.

"In the 2013 presidential election, by supporting Rouhani, who did not proclaim to be a reformist but has championed reformism, we managed to expand the reformist base [which helped us] enlist some moderates in the Majlis polls," the ex-lawmaker said.

"We expanded our alliance while the rival bloc diminished," he was quoted as saying.   

Reform-minded Massoud Pezeshkian and another moderate conservative Ali Motahhari were elected first and second deputy speakers respectively in the new parliament. Shakourirad said the reformist camp is "on the whole satisfied with the outcome of the elections for the Majlis Presiding Board.

"Generally speaking, the vote for the Majlis Presiding Board was not a bad event."