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Council Elections, crucial test for political parties in Iran: daily

Tehran, Jan 13, IRNA - `Iran Daily' on Monday wrote that the upcoming Council Elections, slated for February 28, is a big challenge facing political parties, success or failure of which in the crucial race will determine the future prospects of socio political developments.

It is not out of place to mention that the fortunes of political or non-political groups primarily depend on their familiarity with the changes within different social layers, wrote the article in its Perspective Column.

"The changes, which this time around dependent on the existing political scene, can even lead to the victory of the incumbent wielders of power," it added.

The council elections will serve as an "initial measure" to determine the social weight of individuals or political groups for the fulfillment of the civil society and also be `a ladder to reach the upper stages of power,' it went on to say.

The council election is also important because it will give certain social and political groups to find out more about their political maturity and standing with the electorate, it said.

It is obvious that the present conditions are understandably different from the conditions in the late 1990s, wrote the paper. For example, it said, the years between 1997-2001 saw some groups supporting the reformist parties, but now there is a difference between those affiliated to the ruling establishment and "independent" reformers and they attach credence to notions such as `criticism of melioration' and `reforms in stalemate' and the precedence of social reforms over political change,' explained the article.

This in itself has created a new climate in the political landscape leading to the emergence of independent groups. One may also add that the new situation is born out of the failures of the reform movement, it went on to say.

For example, the student movement, which in the past harmonized with the reformist camp has now graduated to visible independence and is opposed to reformers and conservatives alike, it noted. This is why student groups have declared they are not interested in backing any group or individual for the council elections, it believes.

As for the reformists and their strategists, it is time they realize that their popularity is of the descending order, it advised.

But this does not imply that the fortunes of their conservative rivals will get any better, at least in the foreseeable future, it pointed out.

But it can be said that Iranians today are more politically mature, realistic and logical than say, four or five years ago, concluded the daily.

... Payvand News - 1/13/03 ... --

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