Reformists Need to Devise More Effective Strategy

Reformists Need to Devise More Effective StrategyReformists Need to Devise More Effective Strategy

Greater efforts to highlight the underlying fundamentals of the reformist movement and further interactions among parties affiliated with the camp are essential for the pro-reform discourse to prevail in the society, a veteran diplomat said.

"Until now, the reformist movement has capitalized on the capabilities of prominent personalities," Mohammad Sadeq Kharrazi, who is also a former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations and France, said.

"The camp has been suffering from a disorganized strategy for a long time," he told ISNA.

"When people relate to someone [reformist figures] because they see a social status or unique characteristics in them, this indicates that we do not have a plan in place," the pro-reform diplomat said, stating that the camp still lacks a definitive and clear-cut strategy that is appealing to people regardless of who has taken on the mantle of leadership.


  Lack of Coordination

Pointing to the recent Tehran City Council elections in May, Kharrazi said another issue that has taken a toll on the camp is the uncooperative approach adopted by parties in the camp and with other parties in general.

Although the official list endorsed by the reformist camp swept all the seats of the election, many criticized the camp after a number of lists were published claiming to have connections with reformists.

"The reformist parties do not have cooperation and interaction with one another," he said.

Kharrazi also questioned Tehran City Council's pick for the post of mayor, namely Mohammad Ali Najafi, saying he does not have the sway in the municipality to link it with other organizations run by conservatives.

Najafi, a former education and science minister and a senior reformist politician, was unanimously elected as the new mayor of Tehran on August 10, replacing Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf who held the position for 12 years.

"All the system's heavyweights and organizations came to Qalibaf's assistance when he became mayor. This is not to say that they won't help Najafi, but he is not the one being able to build a bridge [between the municipality and the conservative bodies]," Kharrazi said.

  No Godfather

Without naming any individuals, Kharrazi also said some figures in the reformist camp have assumed the "role of godfather", stressing that the camp should embark on a troubleshooting plan to fix such hitches.

"Reformism should rid itself of these godfathers. The same situation in the conservative camp shrank [their popular base]," he said.

Asked what he thought were behind the successes of the camp in recent elections, especially the May presidential election, he said it was due to the fact that conservative contenders were unable to pose a serious challenge to reformists.

Reformists have performed strongly in recent elections, dethroning the conservatives from Tehran City Council. They also won all the 30 seats from the Tehran constituency in the last parliamentary elections in 2016, forming a major faction in the Majlis. Their support for President Hassan Rouhani in the May poll was also crucial to his successful reelection bid.

While reformists enjoy a high popular base in metropolitan areas, the conservatives have a strong power base in rural areas and small towns. In addition, a strong group of independents have also shown their leaning toward conservatives in the recent confirmation votes for the new Cabinet.

"People choose a person based on knowledge; the conservatives had nothing to say in the elections," he concluded.

The main principlist challengers in the presidential race, namely senior cleric Ebrahim Raeisi and Qalibaf, tried to strike a chord with the grass roots by resorting to populist pledges such as increasing cash handouts and relaxing borrowing regulations.

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