List of candidates
NEWS ANALYSIS BY
January 31, 2000
TEHRAN -- The leftist Majma-e Rouhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRM) has published
its preliminary list of candidates from Tehran for the 6th Majlis (parliament).
The list has surprised a lot of political analysts because of the diametrically
opposed ideologies and beliefs of several of the nominees.
The list includes the names of MRM's own Mehdi Karrubi, Majid Ansari,
and Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, as well as Islamic Iran Participation Front's
(IIPF) Mohammad Reza Khatami and Abbas Abdi, Islamic Revolution Mojahedin
Organization's (IRMO) Mohsen Armin and Behzad Nabavi, former member
of the Society for the Defense of the Values of the Islamic Revolution
(SDVIR) Ahmad Pournejati, former PTT minister Mohammad Gharazi who enjoys
the support of both the Executives of Construction Party (ECP) and the
MRM, Vahideh Taleqani who belongs to an unofficial nationalist-religious
group, Seyed Mahmoud Doaei who is inclined toward the ECP, Secretary-General
of the House of Labor, Alireza Mahjoub, together with Secretary-General
of Islamic Kar (work) Party, Abolqasem Sarhadizadeh.
IIPF has also come up with its own list of candidates which includes
the names of people like former deputy Culture Minister Ahmad Bourghani,
Faezeh Hashemi, Hamidreza Jalaipour, managing director of the banned daily
Jameah, the wife of culture minister, Mrs. Jamileh Kadivar, as well as
political science professor of Tehran University, Elahe Koolaie. Mohtashemi,
Abdi and Mahjoub are also on the IIPF list.
What has surprised political analysts is the fact that most of these
people have nothing in common with each other and logically do not belong
on the same list. Analysts are wondering how an extremist such as Mohtashemi
could be lumped together, politically, with the likes of Doaei and Pournejati.
Or, what is Mahjoub, with his strong bias for the full implementation of
the current Labor Law, has in common with Faezeh Hashemi who is one of
the important members of the ECP and strongly opposes the Labor Law.
There are more fundamental differences separating the nominees. For
example, Mohtashemi claims that he was the one who was given the letter
by the late Imam Khomeini banning the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) from
political activity. How is it possible for him and Vahideh Taleqani who
belongs to a nationalist-religious group to think alike and work together?
Also, it is hard to accept that Abbas Abdi, a vehement critic of Hashemi
Rafsanjani's economic policies could work alongside Gharazi who, as Rafsanjani's
minister, implemented some of those economic policies.
The only possible common denominator between these candidates is their
perceived support for President Khatami. But even if they all find their
way into the Majlis, they are bound to disagree over the best way to show
their support for the president. After all, these names belong to such
diverse political groups that it is almost impossible for them all to agree
on what to have for breakfast let alone formulate national policy. So,
not only their entering the Majlis would not be any help to Khatami, but
it would be the beginning of unimaginable woes for him.
Another point is that a political coalition created just to support
one man has a very short life span. ECP is a case in point. The party was
created on the eve of the Fifth Majlis to provide support for Hashemi Rafsanjani's
policies. But now personal and political differences between its members
has caused a huge split in its ranks.
In fact, the above-mentioned lists are more of a wish list of the MRM
and the IIPF than a realistic list of the names of a compatible and likeminded
group of politicians with similar goals and objectives.
The list of candidates from Tehran is usually an indication of what
the provinces' list would be like. Considering the Tehran lists, there
is not much hope for those of the provinces.
MRM must come up with an improved final list in the short time left
before the February 18 elections, otherwise the Khatami government will
face a confused and divided Majlis which cannot support him even if it
MRM's preliminary list will be finalized after consultations with the
other 17 political groups which make up the 2nd of Khordad (May 23) Front.
The fact that after all this time these groups have not been able to come
up with a final common list is an indication of their being wide apart
on important issues.
Neither the MRM nor the IIPF list included Rafsanjani's name, a strong
indication that Khatami supporters have parted company with the ECP. ECP
had declared that it would retaliate against any party or group that omits
Rafsanjani's name from its list of candidates by dropping the most prominent
name belonging to that party or group from its list.
The fact that Rafsanjani's name is not on either of the two above-mentioned
lists may not prevent his election, but it will most certainly make it
very difficult for him to function as the Speaker of the 6th Majlis.