Prominent reformists back in Iran election

2016-02-09 16:32


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tehran - Prominent but as yet unnamed reformists are among more than 1 400 initially rejected candidates now eligible to contest Iran's parliamentary elections on February 26, a government official said on Tuesday.

The new approvals raise the potential for a change in the balance of power in Iran's parliament, a prospect that looked impossible after thousands of contenders were barred in a first round of vetting.

Anyone seeking to become one of Iran's 290 MPs must satisfy the Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated constitutional watchdog of clerics and jurists, of their suitability for public office.

No names of the new approvals have yet been officially released, but a final list is expected on February 16.

Parliament is now dominated by conservatives, and a reformist official said that last month's exclusions had left only one percent - 30 of the group's 3 000 candidates - eligible for the election.

Iran's Interior Ministry, which will supervise the ballot, said efforts by President Hassan Rouhani's government led to previously barred reformists, moderates and conservatives being approved.

The number of people allowed to contest the parliamentary election now stands at 6 185 - 51% of original applicants - including 586 women.

"The fact that the Guardian Council added over 1 400 to the approved list shows the efficiency of the government's follow-ups and consultations," ministry spokesperson Hossein Ali Amiri told reporters in Tehran.

"Reformists, moderates, and conservatives are among the newly approved," he said.

"There are prominent figures from the reformist and conservative camps."

On hearing of last month's rejections, reformists asked Rouhani, a moderate cleric with close ties to the reform movement, to intervene and seek changes.

Rouhani is hoping his allies can capitalise in the elections after last month's implementation of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers lifted longstanding sanctions, paving the way for a better economy.

Reformists, however, have been on the margins of parliament ever since they largely boycotted legislative polls four years ago.

They stayed away in protest after a disputed presidential election in 2009 had returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

The reformist leaders in that vote - Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi - alleged that the election was rigged. They have been held under house arrest since 2011.

The February 26 parliamentary ballot coincides with elections to Iran's highest clerical body, the Assembly of Experts, a powerful committee that monitors the work of the country's supreme leader.

Voters will elect 88 members to the assembly.

The Assembly election is seen by many as more important than the parliamentary polls as its members will be elected for eight years and they could select the next supreme leader if the incumbent, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 76, dies during that time.

Read more on:    iran

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.