Iranian parliamentary elections: in the shadows of 2009 and 2013

Iranaian voters went to the polls today in a parliamentary election that will determine who fills the 290 seats of the National Consultative Assembly of Iran.

Hooman Majd, the author of two books on Iranian political system and governance, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran and The Ayatollahs’ Democracy: An Iranian Challenge, spoke with Al Jazeera’s The Stream yesterday (video above) to discuss the current state of internal Iranian politics.

In the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election, which was widely seen as rigged by incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, key leaders of the opposition, which came to be known as the “Green movement,” are boycotting today’s election, including former moderate president Mohammad Khatami, and many reformers — including presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi and moderate refomer Mehdi Karroubi — remain under house arrest.

Accordingly, given that fewer reformers were allowed to stand for legislative elections, with other Green movement leaders laced under house arrest or otherwise quieted, and with the remaining reformers simply boycotting today’s election, it is expected that various groups of conservatives will win decisively today and make further gains.  In particular, the election has pitted one group of pro-Ahmadinejad conservatives against another group of more anti-Ahmadinejad (and pro-Khamenei) conservatives, as described today in an editorial in The New York Times by Ardeshir Amir-Arjomand, a professor of international law and adviser to Mousavi, who declared today’s election a farce:

There are no genuine ideological differences between these factions; what motivates them is a lust for power and control of the country’s oil wealth. And they are competing in a polemical race to describe how they would “stamp out” what, in official spin, is labeled as the “remnants of the sedition” — officialese for Iran’s popular Green protest movement, which was brutally attacked three years ago but has nevertheless survived.     Continue reading Iranian parliamentary elections: in the shadows of 2009 and 2013