- Hardliners hold a substantial majority in the Majlis and elected Qalibaf Speaker.
- Legislative elections were disrupted by COVID-19, and two parliamentarians have died from the disease.
- Hardliners are not a monolith, but were able to put their differences aside in the speaker's race.
On the second working day of the 11th term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the meeting appointed the speaker and deputies for the first year. Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf did not have a serious rival for the speakership, and won the approval of 230 lawmakers.
The Coalition Council of Islamic Revolution Forces, which is made up of various fundamentalist groups and factions, held a meeting yesterday evening to determine the final candidate for the speaker, with 240 members, and elected the former Mayor of Tehran with 166 votes.
Qalibaf’s main rival in the race was Hamid-Reza Haji Babaee, the education minister in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second government. He received 57 votes in yesterday’s session, and withdrew before the final.
Other Defeated Candidates
Mostafa Mir-Salim and Fereydoon Abbasi, the other two candidates for the speakership, won 12 and 18 votes, respectively. Qalibaf and Mir-Salim also ran in the 12th presidential election of 2017. Haji Babaee was also a candidate in this election, but the Guardian Council did not approve of his candidacy.
Following the June 28 vote, Qalibaf will replace Ali Larijani for at least one year, with three consecutive terms and a 12-year term as head of the legislature.
After the task of the parliamentary speaker was determined, a vote was taken to appoint two of his deputies. According to news sources, Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi became the first deputy speaker, with 208 votes, and Ali Nikzad became the second deputy speaker of the 11th parliament, with 196 votes. According to the report, 274 people took part in the voting.
Two Members of Parliament Die of Coronavirus
The 11th parliament, like the previous term, has 290 seats. In 11 constituencies, the parliamentary elections have been postponed to the second round, and so far at least the results of one constituency have been annulled due to the forgery of the selected degree. Also, two members of the 11th parliament lost their lives due to COVID-19 disease.
On this account, the parliament has started its work with 276 deputies. The second round of elections, scheduled for April 29, was postponed to September 21 due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The elections for the 11th term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly were held on March 2, and the turnout was slightly more than 42 percent. This is the lowest turnout in a parliamentary election in the history of the Islamic Republic.
Fundamentalists and Internal Differences
The overwhelming majority of the seats in the 11th parliament are in the hands of the fundamentalists. The so-called reformist and moderate factions of the Islamic Republic are very small in this minority period.
Haji Babaee announced in a meeting on May 20 that the number of reformists in the 11th parliament may not reach 20, and that “most of the independents are members of the Revolutionary Forces Coalition.” He estimates that various fundamentalist groups will hold 250 seats in the 11th parliament, which will be more than 85% of the seats.
However, the spectrum of fundamentalists in parliament is not uniform, and there are sharp differences between them. Some of them, including those affiliated with the extremist front, have been opposed to Qalibaf’s speakership in parliament in recent days. Apparently, these differences have been put aside for now, but it is unlikely that they will increase in the future.