February 17, 2016

TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT:

Iran's reformers campaign to block hardliners ahead of key elections (Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 17 February 2016, The Guardian)

Despite widespread disqualifications, reformists are pulling out all the stops to make sure fewer hardliners will enter the next parliament, or Majlis, according to Mohammadreza Jalaeipour, an Iranian reformist political activist now at Harvard University.

"Reformists from all different parties have put aside their differences after many years to agree on a joint list of candidates in an unprecedented form of coalition aimed at blocking hardliners from entering the parliament," he told the Guardian.

The reformists' patron is former president Mohammad Khatami, who faces restrictions on his movement and activities but is leading from behind the scenes.

In Tehran, the reformists on Tuesday issued their joint list of 30 candidates they want to enter the Majlis from the capital. It is led by Mohammad Reza Aref, an influential reformist figure whose decision to stand down in the 2013 presidential election in favour of Rouhani was crucial in the moderate figure's victory.

Also on the list is Ali Motahari, the parliament's sole current outspoken MP - a rare conservative figure who is also critical of the ruling establishment. 

Jalaeipour said the big challenge facing the reformers is persuading people to turn out and vote. "There have been a lot of disqualifications but they haven't purged all the reformists. The ultimate aim for moderates is to have fewer hardliners in the next parliament." 

Imagine how much further along reform would be if W had cut the deal with Khatami in the first place.

Posted by at February 17, 2016 4:58 PM

  

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