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Iranian reformist political parties hold conference

Tehran, July 12, IRNA -- The coordinating council of the reform movement held a conference in Tehran on Monday to study the scope of contribution the political parties could make to the cause of democracy.

Secretary-generals of 18 political parties from the reform camp discussed the need to bring about a democratic atmosphere for the upcoming presidential election as the only way to encourage public partnership in their own affairs.

The reform movement ushered in by President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 called for social freedoms and respect for the constitutional rights of the people.

President Khatami won public acclamation in 1997 with unprecedented 20 million votes for his reform program, and was also re-elected in presidential election of 2001 as a token of public trust in the political openness he advocated during his first term in office.

The reform movement gained momentum with the sixth parliamentary election in 2000 when the people elected reform-minded representatives to the parliament so the reform camp formed majority of the sixth parliament.

However, in the seventh parliamentary elections in February 2004, the political parties advocating the reform movement did not take part in the elections because large number of the reform minded candidates were barred from running for elections by the Guardian Council.

The political parties condemned the wholesale disqualification of the candidates as 'unconstitutional'.

With the approach of presidential elections, they are estimating whether or not there will be democratic atmosphere for the presidential election in 2005.

The outcome of the two presidential elections in 1997 and 2001 proved that people support the process of reform in the governing system and with the emphasis being put by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to fight corruption and poverty, the Guardian Council is required to adopt transparent approach in examining qualification of applicants running for president.

... Payvand News - 7/12/04 ... --

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