Iran’sView: As we get closer to the eleventh presidential election in Iran, the activities of individuals, groups, parties, and coalitions have been increasing significantly and influential figures and parties talk more about the election.
Fundamentalist, Reformists, and a group called the Supporters of the Government are the three main parties who are now preparing for the presidential election.
Fundamentalists and the 2+1 coalition
It was in mid-December when GholamAli Haddad Adel, MP and politician close to Iran’s Leader, announced the establishment of a coalition among the Fundamentalists. The news broadly spread in the country’s political atmosphere.
The new coalition was named “2+1”, including Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Ali Akbar Velayati (former foreign minister and the leader’s advisor on international affairs), and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf (the Mayor of Tehran).
It seems that the fundamentalists again have turned to the strategy of coalition that has become one of their political traditions in the last decade. This strategy was picked by the Fundamentalists during the second round of the Islamic Councils of Cities and Villages in early 2000s when they were noticeably successful with the establishment of a coalition named “Abadgarane Irane Islami” (or the Builders of the Islamic Iran).
“The Coordinating Council of the Revolution’s Forces” in 2005 presidential election, the “5+6” coalition in parliamentary elections in 2007, and the “7+8” coalition in parliamentary elections in 2011 are examples of the main coalitions formed by the Fundamentalists.
Although the Fundamentalist coalition or the Coordination Council of Revolution’s forces could not succeed in 2005 presidential election and did not announce a single candidate but then the three fundamentalist candidates avoided entering the race and thus Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could win the election.
Now that the 2+1 coalition is established, Iran’s Parliament Speaker has reacted and stated that the coalition is not based on the consensus of all fundamentalists. MohammadReza Bahonar, Vice Speaker, has also called for the inclusion of more figures in the coalition.
On the other hand Mohsen Rezaei, and Manouchehr Mottaki, former foreign minister under Ahmadinejad have announced their candidacy as independent figures. There has also been news about the candidacy of Mostafa PourMohammadi, and some other figures close to the fundamentalists.
Fundamentalists and Jebheye Paydari (Stability Front)
In 2011, a number of Fundamentalists including former members of Ahmadinezad administration and a group of MPs established Jebheye Paydarie Enqelabe Eslami (the Stability Front of the Islamic Republic) with the support of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. The Stability front won a number of seats in the parliament.
The fact that members of the Stability were former members of the government administration and parliament is considered to be a strongpoint by the party itself. The most important feature of this party is their disaccord with Hashemi Rafsanjani, setting them at the opposite point to his views.
Some of the Fundamentalists who don’t have good relations with the government believe that the claim that the Stability Front only supports the healthy part of the government is part of and in line with Ahmadinejad’s administration strategy. Assadollah Badamchian the head of Motalefe party said a while ago that “Supporting Ahmadinejad while not supporting Mashaei is a funny joke”.
Kamran Baqeri Lankarani, the speaker of the Stability Front has dismissed claims over the group’s support for Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s Advisor, saying “We have no common candidate with the movement that supports the government’s election team.”
Currently Kmaran Baqeri Lankarani (former Health Minister), Parviz Fattah (former Energy Minister under Ahmadinejad’s first administration), and Saeed Jalil are considered as the candidates for Stability Front.
The group called Hamiane Doulat (“The Supporters of Government”)
Although Ahmadinejad once told reporters that “we don’t think about the election’s candidates even for a moment”, many political observers believe that he would not easily hand down the presidency to a person with no inclination towards him. During a chat in the Iranian state TV when the host used the phrase “the last year of the government”, Ahmadinejad reacted with a grin and said “Who said it is the last year of the government?”
Some political observers believe Ahmadinejad’s supports for controversial figures like Mashaei and vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi are pieces of puzzle of his step-to-step strategy.
It is said that Ahmdinejad’s choice for presidential candidacy is Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. Mashaei’soffice however has denied his candidacy.
GholamHossein Elham, Government speaker, Ali Nikzad, the Housing Minister, Kamran Daneshjo, the Minister of Science, and Ali Akbar Salehi, Foreign Minister, are possible candidates supported by Ahmadinejad.
The Stability Front and the 2+1 coalition are rivals inside the Fundamentalist groups, with both having the same view in opposition to Government and the Reformists.
The possible candidates of Hashemi’s electoral plan, known as “National Unity” or “National Rescue” are seen more often in the news.
Ayatollah Hashemi who entered the electoral arena with his “Free Election” slogan, met with Ali Akbar Nateq Noori, a well-known clergyman and a member of Rohaniat Mobarez. “I am in touch with revolution forces, figures in Bazar (well-known businessmen), and the clergymen. They express their worries over the way you are treated. Come to the scene openly and we all support you,” said Nateq Noori in the meeting.
Previous elections show that whenever Hashemi enters the electoral arena openly he himself or those under his support have failed (like in the sixth round of parliamentary elections, or the 2005 and 2009 presidential elections). This time, however he is determined to have an effective presence. “I’ll be present in the scene of the eleventh presidential election fearlessly and will influence the election,” a reformist paper quoted Hashemi as saying in response to Nateq Noori. The newspaper claimed that “National Unity Government” holds sessions with the presence of Hashemi, Nateq Noori, and former president Mohammad khatami, and that one of the three members of the “national unity triangle” would be announced as the candidate for presidency.
There are other speculations which say the national unity triangle would announce another figure likeHassan Rohani as their candidate.
These days Hashemi family is significantly and seriously involved in the political arena. “We should say that Rohani’s candidacy for presidential election is definite. Moderation is now a public demand and his 36-year records show he has always observed moderation and had good relations with all political groups,” Yasser Hashemi, one of the sons of the family, said in support for Rohani’s candidacy. His remarks come as some consider Khatami as the main choice of Hashemi for presidential candidacy.
It should be noted that the reformists, especially “Mousavi Khoiniha” have clearly understood that boycotting the elections is not beneficial for them. Once they said “If we don’t come there would be no competition and rivalry so the people’s participation would be reduced” but now they have come to this conclusion that they should enter the election even with one candidate as they now have learnt from past experiences like the ninth round of parliamentary elections. Although figures like Saeed Hajjarian talked of decrease in the spirit of reform even among the heads of reformists, some like Majid Ansari and GolamHossein Karbaschi, former mayor of Tehran and a member of Kargozaran would like to gain power through the reformists coming to the power.