Iran’s parliament reconvenes in late May with dozens of greenhorn lawmakers who will hold the key to accelerating reforms to boost foreign investment and trade – but whether they make or break the modernization drive is hard to predict.
Elected in February, the 290-seat assembly replaces one dominated by hardliners suspicious of detente with the West and who curbed pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani’s plans to liberalize the economy and raise lackluster productivity.
Pro-Rouhani candidates raised their representation and 60 percent of MPs are first-timers.
Yet independent tallies suggest this will be the first parliament in more than 20 years without either a conservative or reformist majority, and the novices’ allegiances may switch between Iran’s many factions.
“On the one hand (this) is a positive sign of …the possibility of fresh forces reaching parliament and new people gaining experience in lawmaking,” said Jamileh Kadivar, a reformist former lawmaker now living in London.
“On the other …, until the new representatives are able to gain the necessary experience, parliament could be outmaneuvered by other state bodies, or become susceptible to outside influence.” (full story)