The Iranian


email us

US Transcom
US Transcom

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Reformist party begins campaign for parliamentary elections

TEHRAN, Aug 2 (AFP) - Iran's Islamic Labor Party (ILP) kicked off its campaign for next spring's elections on Monday, getting an early start in a bid to end the conservative majority in parliament.

The reformist party, which strongly backs President Mohammad Khatami, opened campaign season by covering the streets of the capital with banners and holding a press conference to call for "maximum" voter mobilisation.

"We want to mobilise the public, especially women and young people, in order to get the highest possible voter turnout in the parliamentary polls," ILP director Ali-Eza Mahjub told reporters.

MP Soheila Jolodarzadeh said the party was "coordinating with other political alliances close to President Khatami in order to assemble a common list of candidates."

"Iran's workers must have their share of power," she said. Jolodarzadeh said the party would hold meetings next week to elect directors ahead of next April's vote, which will be crucial to the success of Khatami's reform programme.

MP Abdolrahman Tajeddin said the Islamic Labor Party is trying to create a "political renewal" in the country.

Mahjub said the party, which is linked to one of the largest unofficial workers' unions in Iran, would put the nation's serious unemployment problem near the top of its agenda.

Iran's unemployment rate is 10 percent, according to official figures, but experts estimate the true figure is closer to 15 percent nationwide and even higher in big cities.

Reformers are hoping to build on their success in last February's municipal elections to wrest control of the 270-seat parliament, currently headed by Khatami's arch-rival, conservative speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri.

They currently hold some 110 seats to the 140-seat conservative majority with about 20 MPs self-declared independents.

Khatami, who defeated Nateq-Nuri in the 1997 presidential elecions with strong support from women and youth, has been facing a difficult political struggle surrounding his reform agenda.

The battle was heightened by last month's bloody riots in Tehran, which conservatives charged was a sign Khatami was unfit to govern.

Many of the president's supporters accused conservatives and hardliners of staging the violence in a bid to topple him from power or stymie his reform agenda.


Copyright ©Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form

 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.