Politicians Urged to Align With Parties to Enhance Accountability

Politicians Urged to Align With Parties to Enhance AccountabilityPoliticians Urged to Align With Parties to Enhance Accountability

Lawmakers called on mainstream politicians to establish links with parties so that they can be brought to account when they break the promises made during elections.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the lackluster presence of political parties, mainly due to prominent politicians’ unwillingness to align themselves with them, has led to a situation where the establishment has to bear the responsibility for the false pledges, including lies, made by the politicians.

“Political parties would not let their members make baseless pledges,” he said. Iran has over 250 registered political parties, according to the Interior Ministry, but lacks the tradition of disciplined party membership or detailed party platforms.

The public and the politicians tend to align themselves with the two main camps in the Iranian political landscape, namely the conservatives (also referred to as principlists) and reformists.

In recent elections in Iran, the public has demonstrated that they would support the nominees of these two camps, without much individual scrutiny, a fact that became more evident in the last parliamentary election of 2016 and city councils votes in May.

Iranian Constitution recognizes the formation and activity of political parties. According to Article 26 of the constitution, “The formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations, as well as religious societies, whether Islamic or belonging to one of the recognized religious minorities, is permitted. No one may be prevented from participating in the aforementioned groups, or be compelled to participate in them.”

Iran enjoys a dynamic and competitive political landscape which, at least by regional standards, puts to shame the Arab non-democratic systems in its neighborhood, which are ironically supported by the so-called advocates of democracy.

In the same vein, prominent reformist lawmaker, Mahmoud Sadeqi, said the pledges made during elections are not consistent with what is actually practiced and nobody is held accountable.

“The promotion of political parties would lead to greater accountability,” he said.

  Public Cynicism

Sadeqi also blamed, among others, the public cynicism toward political parties, saying “unfortunately organized political activities in Iran are not considered a merit”.

Lawmaker Asghar Salimi said the intense activities of political parties at election time followed by an almost-dormant period has led to a tepid popular response toward parties.

Salimi called on the political parties to reform their administrative structure and expand membership.

Lawmaker Soheila Jelodarzadeh said the public seems to be more attracted to political coalitions than parties.

“Today, political alliances are more influential, so the conditions are not good for partisan activities,” a fact she believed was becoming common even in small cities.

Generally, independent candidates in small cities and towns could attract more support, as the vote in such places would depend on the reputation of candidates and personal contacts with voters. Jelodarzadeh said politicians would avoid sticking to one party and rather join one of the two main camps, because parties’ poor records in the past would be a challenge for those who run under their banners.

“[Politicians] turn to coalitions to get what they want,” she concluded.  


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