Reformist party expects landslide victory in elections
Teheran (dpa) - Iran 's reformist party, the Cooperation Front of Islamic
Iran (CFII), expects a landslide victory in February's Majlis (parliamentary)
elections, CPII Spokesman Mohammad-Reza Khatami said Tuesday.
``If there is no manipulation and no violence (by radical groups), the
CPII expects to gain two-third of the seats in the Majlis,'' Khatami, the
younger brother of President Mohammad Khatami, told the press in Teheran.
The CPII was actually formed 11 months ago by President Khatami himself
but for avoiding any interference in his presidential job, he quit the
membership and now his brother is leading the party which has 180 members.
``Our plans for the next legislative period range from improvement in
political and cultural spheres to programming an economic improvement through
changes in investment laws both for internal and external sectors,'' Mohammad-Reza
Khatami said, adding that foreign firms will get improved conditions for
investment while national interests will nevertheless always have top priority.
He also called for freedom for the press and special courts with a jury
for political charges and a better atmosphere in prisons nationwide.
``The current Majlis formation has caused drastic political setbacks
like in the case of the dissidents' murders (in November last year) when
it showed no the appropriate reaction,'' Mohammad-Reza Khatami.
He termed the conservative opposition or right wing, which consists
mainly of traditional clergymen, as ``orthodox'' and harmful for the political
development of the country.
The CFII introduced their list of candidates which includes prominent
figures such as former leftist Speaker, Mehdi Karubi, a clergy, and his
wife Fatemeh, as well as Mohsen Mirdamadi, one of the students leaders
during last July's unrest, as well as Abbas Abdi, editor of the banned
reformist daily Salaam.
The name of former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who will reportedly
run, together with his daughter Faezeh, a renowned women rights fighter,
for the G6 party, the moderate wing of Khatami's coalition government,
was not on the CFII list.
``We had neither talks with President Khatami nor with Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani
but we introduced candidates who are young, qualified and dynamic and have
new political ideas,'' Khatami said adding that the list only includes
Also included in the CFII list is former Vice-President Abdullah Nuri
despite his conviction by a clergy court on charges of having insulted
``Whether convicted or not and whether he will be disqualified or not,
Mr. Nuri's case will lead to more votes for the reformists,'' the CFII
He further criticised a recent bill approved by the Majlis which has
increased the voting age from 15 to 18. Under the new law, the reformists
are believed to lose a large number of votes by the generation under 18
which played a major role in Khatami's landslide victory at the 1997 presidential
With more than two months remaining until the elections, the reformists
have already started their campaign to remove the conservative opposition,
consisting mainly of traditional clergy, from their last power bastion.
The conservatives have not yet introduced their candidates
According to a recent Majlis bill, a simple majority will suffice to
enter the parliament and there is no more need for a two-third majority.
The Majlis also intends to increase the number of the seats from 270 to
The candidates will be screened by the higher legislative body of Guardian
Council - consisting of six clergy and six lawyers - which is authorised
to reject the nominees without any legal justification.
The reformists have several times protested against this scheme which
might be revised until the elections. Many pro-Khatami candidates are expected
to be rejected by the Guardian Council like they had been during previous