By Saeid Jafari, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
Will Tehran’s top Reformist MP take last shot at political leadership?
“After our victory in the parliamentary elections, Mr. [Ali] Larijani contacted me to congratulate us. But we never held any conversation regarding the post of parliament speaker. I reject [talk of] agreeing or negotiating with Mr. Larijani on this issue.”
These are the words of Mohammad Reza Aref, the head of the Reformist ticket for the Tehran constituency in Iran’s parliamentary elections held in February. Having secured the highest number of personal votes, Aref was elected to Iran’s next parliament with more than 1.6 million ballots cast in his favor.
Those on the “List of Hope,” which included names from the Reformist camp as well as supporters of the moderate government, secured a resounding victory in Tehran, winning all of the voting district’s 30 seats. In total, the Reformist-moderate coalition won 86 out of parliament’s 290 seats. Its main rivals, the Principlist coalition, was badly defeated in Tehran, where it failed to elect even a single representative.
However, the Principlists’ performance was much better in smaller cities, ultimately leaving the coalition with 67 seats. Of the remaining seats in Iran’s next parliament, 55 went to independent candidates and 11 to the moderate conservative “Voice of the Nation.” Meanwhile, the contest for 71 remaining seats went into a second round.
Because no party or political movement was able to win an outright majority, it is very difficult to predict the next speaker. However, there is little doubt that the competition for this important position will be between none other than Aref and the incumbent, Larijani.