After days of wrangling and leaked reports by reformists and conservatives in Iran, the parliament finally voted to elect its leadership on Wednesday, May 31.
The re-election of Ali Larijani, who has been Speaker of Parliament for the last eight years was generally expected. He received 204 votes from a total of 268 cast. No other candidate opposed Larijani for the post.
However, the re-election of Ali Motahari as second deputy speaker ended speculations that the conservatives were trying to oust him. Motahari, who is a conservative on social issues, has become a maverick critic of the hardliners on political and civic rights matters.
His outspoken and frequent criticisms of the heavy-handed policies and tactics of security forces, the judiciary and even pillars of power controlled by Iran’s Supreme Leader, have made him one of the few voices of dissent still enjoying an official position in the Islamic Republic.
Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist, was re-lected as first deputy speaker. It is said that he also enjoys the backing of ethnic groups, such as Azeris and Turkmens. Pezeshkian himself comes from Tabriz, capital of Eastern Azerbaijan province.
Reformists were trying to have a Sunni and a female deputy also elected to the parliament’s presidium, but they failed.