Principlist Consensus Remains Complicated

Principlist Consensus Remains ComplicatedPrinciplist Consensus Remains Complicated

A senior conservative politician believes the alliance of principlists for the forthcoming elections is not a target easily achievable, adding that major conservative parties approve the overall idea of consolidation.

Mohammad Nabi Habibi, the secretary-general of Islamic Coalition Party, made the statement on Sunday, IRNA reported.  

He also stated that his party "does not seem to be at odds" with the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces, a major principlist grouping recently formed to spearhead electoral campaigns.

"Looking at the moves by PFIRF, I clearly see their objective since they have delineated an overall goal that is to unify the conservative camp," he said.

Habibi noted that the Islamic Coalition Party welcomed the establishment of the new group and was set to back them, but in view of frictions within the camp, the idea of principlist unity seems more complicated than envisaged.

PFIRF, which was formed in late December by 10 figures from across the conservative spectrum, aims to rally principlists to pose a serious challenge to the reelection bid by the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani by enlisting the support of a single candidate to represent the camp.

However, the alliance has been unable to obtain the consent of all members of the Resistance Front, a mainstream principlist group.

"The [Islamic] Coalition Party has endorsed a candidate and the choice was made before the formation of the front [PFIRF]. But what matters is that we [the Coalition Party] have a long history of helping the conservative camp," he said.

Islamic Coalition Party has officially announced that it will nominate Mostafa Mirsalim, the former minister of culture and Islamic guidance, for the next month's presidential elections.

Despite the disparities in the camp, all conservatives expect some degree of consensus to emerge in the near future.

Habibi stressed that the ICP would never be the one to hurt a partnership formed by fellow principlists, but remarked that it depends on what lies ahead and "what is yet to occur".

"Under the circumstances, we will still keep backing our candidate and do our best to show that having a candidate from the Islamic Coalition Party would never undermine PFIRF," he said.

Doubts and questions continue to dog conservatives while reformists, who played a major role in Rouhani's victory in the 2013 elections, have favored his reelection.

Two major political camps constituting reformists and principlists are at the heart of Iranian politics. All other possible candidates not affiliated with any one of the two camps are considered as independent.

Uncertainties will come to an end in the coming days, as candidates have to sign up for the election during April 11-15.

The presidential votes will be held on May 19 along with city council and midterm parliamentary polls.


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