Consensus Key to Reformists’ Election Victories

Consensus Key to Reformists’ Election VictoriesConsensus Key to Reformists’ Election Victories

A top reformist politician said consensus among reformist parties will be the key to their future electoral victories, as the May 19 presidential and city council polls approach.

Head of the Reformist Policymaking Council Mohammad Reza Aref, who was addressing a gathering of reformists in Isfahan Province on Saturday, said he believes the reason for previous failures of reformists in elections was their disunity and lack of convergence, not people turning their backs on the camp.

The politician said to prevent future defeats, the policymaking council seeks to hinder "unilateral moves to obtain personal benefits" that weaken reformists' cohesion, IRNA reported.

Aref, who ranked first in the recent Majlis elections in the Tehran constituency and leads a parliamentary faction of reformists and government backers named "Hope", noted that "the reformist bloc will support only one candidate in the May presidential election".

The lawmaker added that they will urge maximum voter turnout in the election, "as opposed to rivals [principlists] who seek minimum participation so they can win".

Aref himself was the reformist candidate in the 2013 presidential election, but stepped down on the election eve to consolidate the position of the ultimate winner, Hassan Rouhani, who secured over 50% of the ballots to become president.

Reformist parties seem to have reached consensus over backing the incumbent president's reelection, whose term will end in July 2017 if he refuses to run again or is defeated by a principlist candidate.

Rouhani has been quiet on his candidacy in the upcoming elections, but he is being regarded as a clear-cut contender, as all Iranian presidents have been reelected to another four-year term and reached the limit of eight consecutive years of presidency.

  Principlists to Pose Challenge

The rival bloc of principlists, whose parties are still weighing options for the next presidential polls, seems poised to create a real challenge for Rouhani on his path to repeating the 2013 success.

Mohammad Nabi Habibi, secretary-general of the well-known Islamic Coalition Party, told Fars News Agency on Saturday that it is in the interest of principlist parties to "field not more than one candidate".

Habibi said according to arrangements, principlist parties will scrutinize suitable candidates and propose their choices to an electoral coalition, then they will debate on their proposals and finally respect "collective wisdom" by rallying behind the final candidate. Ahmad Nikfar, a member of the Islamic Society of Engineers, said last Monday that representatives of principlist parties are holding regular meetings under the watch of Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani, secretary-general of the Combatant Clergy Association, to prepare the ground for the principlist coalition.

He said the coalition's pick for carrying the principlist banner in the presidential marathon will be introduced in a country-wide congress.

Nikfar did not elaborate on the possible date of the congress.

Candidates for the next presidential elections can sign up from April 11 to 15 and those who pass the vetting process carried by the election watchdog, the Guardians Council, will have 20 days to mount their electoral campaigns, from April 28 to May 17.


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