London- Lawmakers in Iran have once again overwhelmingly voted to re-elect Ali Larijani as parliament speaker.
The Islamic consultative assembly or the Majlis witnessed little change in its governing board as the first and second deputy speakers namely Masoud Pezeshkian and Ali Motahari were also re-elected amid reported efforts by a group of MPs to dislodge them from their posts.
The MP for the city of Qom won the endorsement of 204 out of 268 lawmakers who cast ballots. Although he is generally seen as being close to Iran’s conservative political camp, Larijani has recently adopted positions on a number of issues considered by observers as moderate, including his support for President Hassan Rouhani’s administration in passing the nuclear agreement in the previous parliament.
However, the Iranian Hope faction has hinted to name a competitor for Larijani in his current post if attempts to oust Motahari continue.
On Saturday, Mohammad Reza Aref, the leader of the Hope faction, said the bloc wants Motahari and Pezeshkian to stay in the leadership and is doing whatever it can to achieve that.
He also said negotiations are underway between different factions of the parliament in order to reach an agreement on the presiding board.
Ahead of the vote, rumors were spreading about Larijani having forged a deal with hard-liners to prevent Motahari, who has come under fire from conservatives on the far right about his outspokenness, from being re-elected as deputy speaker.
As the rumors and conservative criticisms of Motahari heightened, some Reformist members of parliament claimed that the Rouhani administration had secretly agreed to remove Motahari from his deputy post.
Of note, Motahari is the son of Morteza Motahari, one of the theoreticians of the Islamic Republic, and he is very popular among youths and Reformists for being outspoken.