Political factions competing in Iran's parliamentary elections

A look at the main political factions competing in Friday's parliamentary election in Iran.
  • THE UNITED FRONT OF PRINCIPLISTS: The most prominent grouping of hard-liners, many of them close to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It includes many top names in the conservative movement, seeking to maintain their control of parliament. Key leaders are: Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, the current parliament speaker; his deputy Mohammad Reza Bahonar, widely seen as the brain behind bringing Ahmadinejad to power; Ruhollah Hosseinian, a cleric accused of supporting murder of political dissidents. Though seen as a pro-Ahmadinejad list, some hard-liners critical of the president have connected themselves to the slate - including lawmaker Ahmad Tavakoli and former top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.
  • INCLUSIVE COALITION OF PRINCIPLISTS: A loose grouping of candidates, including many conservative opponents of Ahmadinejad. The slate is seen as backed by Tehran's mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, often cited as a possible challenger to Ahmadinejad in 2009 elections. Key leaders of the list include Mohammad Khoshchehreh, a prominent Ahmadinejad adviser who later became a vocal critic; Mir Mohammad Sadeqi, a former judiciary spokesman; Amir Reza Khadem, a former wrestling champion; and Saeed Aboutaleb, a conservative filmmaker critical of Ahmadinejad.
  • COALITION OF REFORMIST GROUPS: The main reformist slate of candidates, made up of a dozen liberal parties seeking deep democratic changes in Iran's ruling Islamic establishment. Many of the 1,700 candidates barred from running by the cleric-led Guardians Council were reformists. The two most powerful reformist parties - the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Organization of the Islamic Revolution Mujahedeen - were nearly completely prevented from running any candidates. The candidates that have survived the vetting are lesser known, though the main parties have been stumping for them. Key candidates include: Mohammad Sadr, a former deputy foreign minister who supports detente with the outside world; Eshaq Jahangiri, a former minister of mines and industry; and Soheila Jelowdarzadeh, a defender of women rights.
  • NATIONAL CONFIDENCE PARTY: A pro-reform party that seeks minor rather than deeper democratic reforms, within the framework of Iran's ruling Islamic establishment. The party leader is Mahdi Karroubi, a former parliament speaker who is not running in the elections. Key candidates: Rasoul Montajabnia, a cleric who was sidelined by hard-liners, backs reforms but defends the idea of "velayat-e-faqih" - rule by Islamic clerics; Esmaeil Gerami Moghaddam, spokesman of the party; and Mohammad Reza Rahchamani, a former chief of Social Welfare Organization.