Lawmaker: Reformist Alliance Unlikely in Next Elections

Lawmaker: Reformist Alliance Unlikely in Next ElectionsLawmaker: Reformist Alliance Unlikely in Next Elections

Reformists are very unlikely to forge an alliance with moderates or independent candidates in the next Majlis elections in 2019, a reformist lawmaker said.

"When give-and-take [business model] replaces interaction, an alliance would not be durable," ISNA also quoted Alireza Rahimi as saying in a recent talk.

He said the bitter experience of the Hope Faction's alliance in the last Majlis elections, where some candidates entered the parliament under the banner of reforms, only to immediately form an independent faction in the Majlis, has disappointed reformists to follow such coalitions in the next elections.

Reformists, the opposing camp of conservatives in Iran's mostly-bipartisan political system, decided to form an alliance with moderates who are close to pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani in the last parliamentary elections in 2015, to increase their chances of taking control of a chamber dominated by conservatives for years.

Also, they secured more than 100 seats in the 290-chamber, but somehow did not have the expected weight to push their agenda.

Soon, they pointed the finger of blame at phony reformists who entered the alliance only to enter the parliament.

Prominent reformist lawmaker Mohammad Reza Aref recently announced that his camp would not seek a coalition in future elections, citing the victory of his camp in the last city council votes where an all-reformist list swept all the 30 seats in the capital Tehran, ultimately replacing long-serving conservative mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, with a reformist, Mohammad Ali Najafi.

"After the elections, some who were included in the Hope list did not join the Hope faction in the Majlis," Aref said.

  Disadvantages Outweigh Advantages

Rahimi pointed to the election of Majlis Presiding Board as yet another example of the Hope Faction being shunned by other factions, including some who had pledged allegiance to reformists.

Right after the decisive victories of moderate-reformist coalition in the last parliamentary election, some were quick to tout Aref as the next Majlis speaker. However, reformists could not pull enough strings to have him selected.

The last straw came when the only staunch reformist proposed for minister by the reelected president, the two-time minister Habibollah Bitaraf, was narrowly rejected by the chamber.

The defeat made some leading reformist theorists to claim that the chamber was in effect a conservative-leaning one.

"What happened in that Majlis shows that the dose of conservatism is more than that of reformism," Sadeq Zibakalam, a professor of politics at Tehran University, said in late August.

"All these events show that the alliance has not yielded bright results expected by the reformist movement," Rahimi said.

"The negative effects of such alliances are more than its positive ones. That reformists would not enter into a coalition is very predictable, but one cannot be sure about it."


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