Legislative in Iran: Supreme Leader Calls for Massive Participation
Legislative in Iran this Friday, February 21: at a polling station in Tehran, an assessor checks the lists of candidates. Nazanin Tabatabaee / WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
Text by: Siavosh Ghazi
Some 57 million Iranians are called to the polls to elect the 290 deputies of the Iranian Parliament this Friday, February 21, while a little more than half of the registered candidates were invalidated. When he voted at the opening of offices this Friday morning, the supreme guide Ali Khamenei called for massive participation.
from our correspondent in Tehran,
Some 7,300 candidates were invalidated and 7,150 others were selected for voting by the Council of Guardians of the Constitution, the body responsible for overseeing the elections. Dominated by the conservatives, its mission is notably to approve or reject candidates for the various national elections.
Candidates of reformers largely invalidated
The reformers criticized a massive rejection of their candidates, especially in the provinces. Indeed, the main figures of the reform camp, including outgoing deputies known for their criticism of the government, were invalidated by the Council. In Tehran, for example, the coalition of reforming and moderate parties, which supports President Hassan Rohani, has decided not to present lists. The eight reformist parties however decided to present their own list. But this lack of unity is not good for mobilizing the moderate electorate.
Government record disappointed
Moderate voters and reformers are also disappointed with the government's economic and political record and may not mobilize. President Rohani was elected with the promise of normalizing relations with the rest of the world and improving the economic situation.
The conclusion of the 2015 nuclear agreement had given rise to great hope, but since the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement in 2018 and the return of American sanctions, the economic situation has deteriorated sharply with inflation which has reached 50%.
President Rohani also forgot his election promises, including the promise to integrate young people and women into his government. The moderate electorate also criticizes him for his lack of action to free the leaders of the 2009 protest movement who have been under house arrest for ten years.
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Besides, former reformist president Mohammad Khatami , who had played a leading role in mobilizing moderate and reformist voters in previous elections, decided not to intervene in the campaign.
Conservatives on the rise
The Conservatives seem to have high hopes for taking control of Parliament. They managed to present a unique list that also includes the friends of former populist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . They count on a demobilization of the moderate electorate to elect their candidates.
But in certain provincial towns, the situation is even more favorable since the reformers claim to have no qualified candidates in part of the provincial constituencies. And in the capital, the former mayor of Tehran leads the list of conservatives.
If the Conservatives take control of Parliament, the task of President Hassan Rohani, who based his policy on rapprochement with the West, will be even more difficult. The current Parliament is chaired by Ali Larijani , a moderate conservative, close to Rohani. He supported the nuclear agreement and the policy of rapprochement with the West. But he decided not to run again.
If the Conservatives take control of Parliament, they will have a tougher policy towards the West, which will weaken President Rohani who has two more years before he leaves office. The reformers will be even more weakened at the head of the State since the other organs of power, in particular the Council of Guardians of the Constitution, the judicial authority, and the Assembly of experts responsible for appointing the supreme guide, are already controlled by the Conservatives.
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