Less than two years before Iran's next parliamentary election, moderate conservatives are preparing to reclaim the political place they were denied since 2020.

According to news website Nameh News, different conservative factions have already started to compete within their camp and apparently there are at least three main players lined up for the February 2024 elections.

Moderate conservatives (such as Ali Larijani), ultraconservatives (Paydari and pro-Ahmadinejad groups such as most of the current members of the parliament), and current Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf with his ‘neo-cons’ are the main factions.

Hardliner politician Seyyed Hossein Naghavi Hosseini told Nameh News that some of the conservative political groups have already organized election committees for their campaigns. However, he claimed that conservatives will take part in the election as a single front.

This has been their promise since 2007, but conservatives never managed to present themselves as a consolidated front in any election. This appears to be the case for 2024.

Nameh News wrote that even now, former Majles Speaker Ali Larijani is planning for the next election independent of other conservatives, adding that he has a good chance as most people believe he is a logical and capable person who can bring about a change in the country's politics.

The Raisi factor

Naghavi said that the next parliamentary election will be deeply affected by President Ebrahim Raisi's success or failure. People will welcome hardliner conservative candidates if they believe Raisi has been successful, otherwise they will opt to vote for others. He claimed that even now Larijani and his like-minded candidates enjoy support.

President Raisi surrounded by parliament hardliners during his inauguration in August 2021.

Larijani's political allies are also active players in the media and their main activity is criticizing the Raisi administration and the current parliament.

The politician argued that the main rivalry will take place between the Larijani camp and current Majles Speaker Ghalibaf.

Raisi, who was Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's choice as president, so far has left a dismal record in managing the economy and the hardliner camp that has supported him might loose its value for the regime.

Reformists’ option is Larijani

Moderates and reformists may also be willing to take part in the elections, but it is still not known who will be leading them.

In another report, Nameh News pointed out that the situation has changed since Larijani was disqualified by the Guardian Council and barred from the 2021 presidential election.

The report added that Iran's moderates and reformists will also not be able to find any political ally and leader in the next election other than Ali Larijani. Meanwhile, even among the conservatives, there are many voters who would welcome the Larijani-led right-of-center faction to replace the far right "principlists" who currently control the Majles.

Even Iran's reformist analysts such as Abbas Abdi have backed the idea of Larijani becoming the leader of Iran's moderate conservatives. Nameh News quoted him as saying that "This is Ali Larijani and Iran's traditional conservatives' last chance to come back into the spotlight. Without a figurehead such as Larijani, that would be the end of the traditional conservatives who were side-lined in the 2021 presidential election partly for the same reason."

Some Conservatives might flip

Since his disqualification in June 2021, Larijani has tried hard not to create any controversy and has successfully evaded regime redlines, most importantly, turning against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

In the meantime, as Nameh News has observed, what is certain, is that most current lawmakers are likely to turn against Raisi to distance themselves from his failures. They would want to make sure that increasing dissatisfaction with his performance does not ruin their chance of re-election. Some might even shift to Larijani's camp.

The fate of elections in Iran is determined by the conservative-dominated Guardian Council that can say who can and who cannot run in the fist place. But once the candidates have the Council’s and Khamenei's blessing, it is the man in the street whose votes they need.

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