The IranianFly to Iran


email us

Flower delivery in Iran

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Conservatives concede possibility of poll defeat

By Guy Dinmore in Tehran
Financial Times
February 2, 2000

Prominent members of Iran's powerful conservative coalition have started to speak openly about the prospect of losing their parliamentary majority in elections this month, but reject predictions of a landslide victory by reformist allies of President Mohammad Khatami.

Signals that the conservatives would accept defeat gracefully if the February 18 vote went against them are likely to raise the spirits of reformists, whose own coalition risks breaking apart over personality and economic issues.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a member of parliament and influential figure in the conservative grouping known as the Followers of the Imam and Leaders' Path, said their coalition could win as few as 90 to 95 seats, less than a third of the next expanded parliament of 290 seats.

He said the conservative coalition held 126 seats in the current 270-seat parliament. It can usually count on the support of enough of some 60 "independent" MPs to control a majority.

Given the undeveloped state of Iran's political parties and a degree of distrust among voters towards all politicians, independents are expected to play an important role in the next parliament.

"We may lose here and there. It's political life," Mr Larijani told the Financial Times. But forecasts by some reformists of an overwhelming majority were naive, he added.

Movahedi Savoji, a conservative cleric and MP, predicted that the conservatives would outnumber the reformists but that no group would secure an outright majority.

Asked if the conservatives would accept defeat, he replied: "I think all groups should respect the people's vote and surrender to what the people want. It is natural that one party will be defeated and another gain."

Mohammad Reza Khatami, head of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front and brother of the president, said their surveys showed support from 80 per cent of voters but admitted that this would not translate into as many seats. Aides to the president speak privately of winning more than two-thirds of the next parliament.

Even if the reformist coalition of 18 factions known as the May 23 Front does gain a majority, analysts say it is doubtful that the new government would implement sweeping economic reforms.


 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.