The political spectrum in the future democratic Iran

The political spectrum in the future democratic Iran
by religionoutofgovernment

A possible political spectrum in the future democratic Iran. Feel free to suggest yor own additions or changes. Just leave the communists and IRR elements in the fringes please!


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Would you prefer to discourage extremism and sectarianism?

by FG on

(I recommend saving this post in event the IRI falls in which case the usual tendency will be to opt for proportional representation without considering the alternative).



Parties get seats based on percentage of the votes a party one.  However, parties who get less than 5 percent of the vote don't usually qualify for any seats.  To form a government, parties must get at least 50 percent of the seats.  If no party does so, a group of parties must form a broad coalition containing at least that many seats.  Hence coalition governments are common in this system and can include more than ten parties in some cases.


1. This system encourages people to form parties along ethnic, sectarian and extremist lines for a simple reason: All an extremist group needs is five percent of the vote.  Extremist parties tend to be relatively cohesive so that's easy to get. 

In countries where people are sensitive about ethnic or sectarian differences, a voter may feel obligated to join a sectarian party out of self-protection if another sect forms such parties.  These votes are taken away from centrist parties which would otherwise get them.

Another problem is that when one ethnic or sectarian group forms a successful party, voters who might otherwise vote for centrist parties often feel the need to also join ethnic or sectarian counterparties to protect themselves, as happened in Bosnia and as you see in Iraq.

In a country has minorities prone to secession, the formation of such parties will naturally aggravate secessonist tendencies.

Cleavages of this sort are more common in some societies (Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Israel) than in others (Great Britain).  Where they are commonplace propoortional representation becomes riskier.  in a socare pre-existing  The reason it does so is because it makes such parties viable.   All they need is five percent of he vote.

2. The proportional representation system can actally favor extremist parties at the expense of moderate centrist parties.  There are two reasons for this. 

First, that extremists (far right or left) tend to stick together and thus qualify for seats under the 5 percent rule.  Moderate centrists tend to split into many several parties (in Milosevic's Serbia there were 20 such parties), so that most don't qualify for the 5 percent minimum.  These centrist votes are in essence "thrown away.  That's why Israel's hard line parties manage so much success.

Second, instability in a prolonged crisis, such a the Great Depression people tend to desert the centrist parties for more extreme parties on the right and left.  Eventually all centrist parties combined may not have enough votes to form a government in which case they must "invite" an extremist party into the coalition and it can drive a hard bargain.  This is how Hitler got into power in 1933 with only eight percent of the vote. 

Thus, the effect of the Great Depression on manyproportional representation democracies was to either bring them down (Spain, Japan, Germany) and replace them with fascist/ultranationalist totalitarian goverments, or to produce weak popular front coalitions made up of so many parties with diverse views they tended to be relatively ineffective and hogtied by the diffeences between them.



Every seat and every office is elected independently on a winner-take-all, loser-gets-nothing (no matter how close) basis.


1. A plurality system naturally favors centrist parties over extreme parties.

The reason is the center is where the most votes are concentrated so politicians who want to win must usually moderate their position especially in general elections. 

The larger and more homogenous the popuation involved (The US Senate for example is statewide) the less you can afford to take an extreme position.  Even if you get 25 percent of the vote what good is that in a winner-take-all system. If you want more votes, seek broader appeal.  Hitler could never have gotten in under this system.

In this system extremists (the Tea Party and Evangelicals) do best in party primaries and where constituencies are smaller and more homogeneous (the House of Representatives for example).  They have much less success in general elections.

2. It tends to lead to two major centrist parties and is biased against extremist parties.

One tends to be center/right (the Republicans) and one is center left (the Democrats).  Each has its extremist fringe but rarely as extreme as the Nazis on the left or the communists on the right. 

There is no rule against coalition governments but they are never needed.

3. The effects on third parties.

Third parties in this system tend to be relatively extreme or sometimes oriented about one or two issues.    Free to compete they rarely win elections because you need more votes than anyone else and the only way to get that is by becoming less extreme and thus attracting more voters.

The effects of third parties in this system are: 1) Very rarely they replace one of the two major parties where that party splinters badly; 2) They sometimes introduce radical positions that win broad acceptance and are incorporated into the law, and 3) Third parties tend to take away votes from the major party that is ideologically closest to them, thus costing the former a victory (as Ralph Nadir did to Al Gore in 1990, as as Ron Paul could still do to the Republicans this year if he forms a third party).

It has been argued that the plurality system is somewhat "undemocratic" because people who vote for third parties have their vote wasted. However, such parties could have broadened their appeal and chose not to do so.  Also, such critics forget that in proportional representation an even LARGER number of votes are often wasted on parties that fail to qualify for the five percent minimum and that most of those whose votes get lost are moderates instead of extremists. 

Again, consider Likud's success in Israel where right wing coalitions tend to rule.  The government of Israel continues to favor West Bank settlements and ethnic cleansing even where polls show most Israelis oppose it.  This happens for the same reason Milosevic enjoyed success in Serbia--too many centrist parties split the moderate vote and several don't qualify.



Darius Kadivar

A Constitutional Monarchist can very well be 'Left Wing'

by Darius Kadivar on

A Constitutional Monarchist can very well be  'Left Wing' or at least "social conscience".


As such I don't see them particularly type cast in your diagram under the "National Democratic Category" ( which apparently from what I understand in your diagram appears as being conservative and right wing) but rather under "Social Democrat Party" category ...


Sweden for instance is often seen as a model by many socialists in Europe. 


Bakhtiar for instance was a Social Democrat :


BEHOLD THE PALE HORSE: French Socialists Pay Tribute to Shapour Bakhtiar


Same thing in Spain where many Left Wing Intellectuals were staunch supporters of the Monarchy: 


ADIEU JORGE: Tribute to Screenwriter Jorge Semprun (1923-2011) 


In France the heir to the French Throne the Count of Paris voted for François Mitterand in 1981:


La rose & le lys : François Mitterrand et le comte de Paris 1986-1996


Although in it's political framework The Monarchy as an institution is not necessarily egalitarian per se but it is built on the notion that the Monarch's duty is to guarantee social justice while encouraging economic prosperity and civil peace across the realm. That is not achievable without a strong sense of social justice and policies aimed at satisfying the majority of one's subjects.


Now whether it always works or not as an ideal is another debate ...


But by essence a King or Queen's legacy is often judged by the ability of that Monarch to establish a strong social connection with his or her subjects :

King Arthur (Richard Harris) sums it best in the following scene from the movie Camelot where he suggests the Round Table and defines the concept of Knighthood:

Camelot Speach: might for right, right for right, justice for all


Related Blog:


Shah of Iran speaks about his concept of Kingship and duty to fight social injustice with David Frost in a Rare interview at the height of power (1974)



"A Country that Loses it's Poetic Vision is a Country that faces death"-Saul Bellow.