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Head of the Reformist Policymaking Council Mohammad Reza Aref talks to reporters in Tehran on Jan. 24.
Head of the Reformist Policymaking Council Mohammad Reza Aref talks to reporters in Tehran on Jan. 24.

Reformists Seek Electoral Coop. With Gov’t Backers

Reformists and government backers have a positive experience of collaboration in the last Majlis elections, as their alliance managed to break the chain of overwhelming principlist victories in the three previous parliamentary polls

Reformists Seek Electoral Coop. With Gov’t Backers

Head of the Reformist Policymaking Council Mohammad Reza Aref said the body is keen on forging electoral cooperation with other supporters of the incumbent administration on the May 19 presidential and city council elections. Reformists and government backers, which include independent and even conservative figures, have a positive experience of collaboration in the last Majlis elections, two rounds of which were held in February and April 2016.
The alliance managed to break the chain of overwhelming principlist victories in the parliamentary elections of 2004, 2008 and 2012.
A dramatic victory for the alliance was clinched in the 30-seat constituency of Tehran where all of its 30 candidates swept into office, with Aref topping the winners' list.
Speaking in a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Aref said the council has formed a committee for the upcoming presidential polls, tasked with advising the body on its election strategy.
"Reformists do not take orders; they depend on wisdom of the fold. We believe in consultation and deliberation, but final decisions will be made by members of the council. That's what happened before previous elections [for the presidency in 2013 and Majlis in 2016]," ISNA quoted him as saying.

  Support for Rouhani's Reelection
Asked whether he will enter the presidential race, Aref said the camp will support only one candidate in the polls, and he believes that contender should be President Hassan Rouhani, "provided that he likes to run again".
Although Rouhani has been silent on the incoming votes, his candidacy is seen clear-cut, as no Iranian president has ever refused to extend his first term and none of them have failed in their reelection attempts to reach the limit of eight years of consecutive presidency.
Rouhani won the 2013 race by receiving just over 50% of the votes and meeting the threshold to avoid the need for a runoff.
Aref, the reformist candidate in the votes, played a key role in Rouhani's victory by withdrawing in his favor on the eve of elections.
With less than four months left to May 19, the rival camp of principlists is still mulling its options for the presidential contest.
A new principlist front named the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces announced its formation late December, which will likely pose the most serious challenge to Rouhani's reelection.
Those willing to become a president are scheduled to register from April 11 to 15.
They will have 20 days to stage their campaigns from April 28 to May 17, if they pass the vetting process conducted by the Guardians Council, the election watchdog.

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