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A Focus on 5th Experts Assembly, 10th Islamic Parliament of Iran Elections

The Experts Assembly and Parliament elections, held on February 26, 2016, mark another stage of democracy in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The elections were held at a time when the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the most stable countries in the West of Asia. The strategic region has turned into one of the most insecure regions on Earth with more than 200 big and small terrorist groups supported by certain regional and ultra-regional countries. Iran has been in security and stability while actively contributing to regional issues, especially security and stability of the neighbors within framework of the bilateral relations. In the meantime, certain states continued supporting terrorists both officially and publicly. These states have not experienced any democracy during their political life span. They have interfered in the affairs of regional countries under the pretext of establishing democracy.

More than 62 percent of the eligible voters cast their votes for the two elections. The parties and groups running for the elections represented two major factions of the country: Principalists and Reformists.

Of course the weak point with political participation in Iran is the lack of strong and inclusive political parties. The candidates launch elections campaigns through political coalitions that are mainly based on the two afore-mentioned political wings. After the elections, the temporary political coalitions are not as capable enough as before the elections and due to this reason, the candidates finding their way to the Parliament might change their political tendency due to certain exigencies.

Following the inauguration of the 5th Experts Assembly on May 24, 2016, and of the 10th Parliament on May 28, 2016, political composition of the two parliaments has become more transparent. The result of elections in the Experts Assembly for the presiding board was in favor of Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who is aged 88 and is a Principalist. Winning 51 votes in his favor, Ayatollah Jannati was elected as president of the Experts Assembly for a period of two years. Two more candidates, each winning 21 and 13 votes, followed the list of winners after Ayatollah Jannati. The election indicates a 60 percent victory for the Principalists in the Experts Assembly.

As for the Steering Board elections for the 10th Islamic Parliament of Iran, Ali Larijani, who is mainly representing the Principalists, was elected as President of the Parliament for the third consecutive term.

His reformist rival, Mohammad-Reza Aref garnered 103 votes, while Larijani gained 173 votes in his favor. The voting result was valid for a single day and for a temporary period. The main election was held the next day for the Standing Steering Board and in the process Aref quit the scene of competition.

Hence, Larijani winning 237 overwhelming majority of votes in his favor, turned President of the 10th Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A remarkable number of votes cast in Larijani’s favor on the second day of voting, indicates the addition of the votes of certain Reformists in his favor.

Regarding other members of the Steering Board, two deputies of the President represent Reformists and Moderationists. Three out of the remaining 9 members of the Steering Board represent Reformists and six are Principalits. One of the mentioned Reformists represents the Sunni minority and is from Bukan city in Kurdistan.

The composition shows a balanced representation of the two major political factions of the country composing of Reformists and Principalists. These two parties with 50 independent representatives can have a constructive debate along with cooperation, fulfilling their duty as parliament members.

The Constitution and Parliament Rules of Procedure have specified duties of the Parliament representatives. The duties can be put in a different way in proportion with time exigencies. In his first meeting with representatives of the 10th term of the Parliament, the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei referred to change in the composition of the representatives as a result of elections as "an opportunity" and outlined their responsibilities as follows:

1.Importance of the Parliament

By "Top affairs" it is not meant what a kind of role the parliament or parliament member has in the hierarchy of the executive affairs. The Parliament puts the way. So, if the parliament specifies the way, it can act as a two-way razor and this will further show the importance of the issue: "If the parliament cares for public welfare, social justice, scientific progress, technological advancement, national dignity and independence of the nation, it will try to lay the track towards the objectives; However, if the Parliament is terrified by the west, is terrified by the US, seeks sovereignty of the aristocracy, it will set the course towards the directions. It will make the country miserable. The importance of the parliament is due to all these." (February 17, 2016)

2.Right of Inquiry

Another point, highly referred to in recent years, is type of cooperation between government and the parliament: This should be made fully clear. "For long years, in addresses to different terms of the parliament and different governments, I have always encouraged Parliament to get coordinated with and help the government. Now too I believe that the parliament should help the government and pave the way for execution. Execution is not the easy part of the job." (March 10, 2016) "However, by cooperation it does not mean denial of the right of the Parliament. They should restore their rights. Do research, go and investigate, question why something is not done, why something goes down, and why something goes awry?" (June 5, 2016)

3.Principles of the 10th Parliament for legislation

Laying the framework and highlighting exigencies of legislation accounted for the main and significant portion of the assertions of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in the meeting: "The law should be qualitative. Increase in number of the rules and abundance of the rules are not so much favored. Law should be qualitative in nature. Accumulated law is problematic. There are so many laws on different issues. You should avoid the laws that will give way to corruption. You should be careful that the laws laid down be against corruption." "National interests should be given preference over regional issues." And the last advice: "Any negligence and disrespect to the sixth plan would not be wise and logical; lets say, you should complete the plan very well and carefully." (June 5, 2016)

4.Economic priorities of the 10th Parliament

The Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution sets economy as the executive priority of the country. Naturally, he would have lots to say on economy in a meeting with the Parliament: "Enemy uses economy as a lever against us; perhaps we were also not so wise and showed that we are scared of the lever and are unhappy. We should solve the problem with economy of the country. Of course, it rests with the government to go on the executive side of the work. However, you can afford a great deal of help in this connection. Great emphasis should be laid on recession. The emphasis should be domestic production." Another duty that the parliament should fulfill in connection with economy is supporting government in campaign against smuggling because "smuggling is a dagger falling on the system on the back." (June 5, 2016)

5.Parliament’s duty with regards to cultural issues

Economic issues have been given paramount importance in the speech of the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei; however, his Excellency has times and again asserted that cultural issues are more important than the economic ones in the long run. “Dear brothers, dear sisters! As far as cultural issues are concerned, I feel there is a kind of laxity. Cultural organs, including the governmental and non-governmental ones, are showing a sort of laxity and passivity towards cultural subjects. Our duty is to produce helpful cultural items and prevent production of harmful cultural goods. I feel there is a kind of laxity in this connection. You should take this into consideration and give importance to it." (June 5, 2016)

6.Indexes of remaining revolutionary

Furthermore, Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei recalls the parliament members of the revolutionary methods. "The Islamic Parliament of Iran is a revolutionary institution, originated from the revolution. You should hence act as a revolutionary. You should remain revolutionary and remain so." (June 5, 2016)

He then refers to several main points with regards to political moves of the parliament: "The US administrations approach towards the Islamic Republic is very hostile. So, who should remain accountable? The enemy counts on reactions in the political domain. If it says something and you remain silent, it will have a sort of interpretation. However, if you raise your head up and answer, it will have another rendition." (June 5, 2016)

He also gives a warning in connection with limits of raising differences, hoping it will serve as another framework for revolutionary movement of the Parliament: "No matter there is difference. If the "faults" are activated, quake will happen. Enemy tries to activate the "faults". You should be careful. In case of tension in the Parliament, as was the case in certain terms of the parliament, it will encroach towards the society and cover up the nation. Tension will spread to the public, even if being psychological in nature. In case of tranquility and peace in society, it will cover up the society. Such a peace is highly important." (June 5, 2016)


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