Friday, December 14, 2007

Moderates and Reformist Form Coalition

The elections for the new Majlis will be held on 14 March 2008. Today 21 centerist and center-right parties announced that they have formed a coalition to win back the new parliament. Former president Mohammad Khatami is the main force behind the coalition joined by another former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. They will try to unseat the extreme right and the fundamentalists who control the present Majlis.

Former Majlis speaker Medhi Karrubi was not part of the coalition, but his National Confidence Party is expected to file an electoral list with some 80% of candidates common with the new coalition. Together they would be a formidable force that could win the elections by a large margin.

It is not known to what extend the Guardian Council would disqualify the coalition candidates from running in the elections. In the Islamic Republic version of democracy, the unelected supreme leader selects half of the Guardians, with the other half nominated by the head of the judiciary who himself is selected by the supreme leader. The Guardian Council has in the past disqualified many moderate and reformist candidates and is expected to do so now. The question is how extensive this vetting process would be. The Guardian Council might be the best hope for the fundamentalists to retain the control of Majlis.

No comments: