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Karroubi hopes Iran's Parliament will not refer bill on elections to Expediency Council

Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Sunday expressed hope that the bill on an amendment to the election law would not be referred to the Expediency Council (EC) for arbitration, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Karroubi, talking to reporters after the Majlis open session, said the bill had been returned to the related expert committee at the chamber so that the deputies may remove the problems in joint debates with members of the Guardians Council (GC).

The GC last week rejected the bill arguing that some articles of the bill contradicted the Constitution and the Ismlaic Sharia law.

The bill along with another one seeking to increase the power of the President was submitted by President Mohammad Khatami's Government, backed by nearly all reformist MPs now holding the majority of the Majlis seats.

It has been basically drawn up to address the GC's prerogative of Approbatory Supervision which enables the council to disqualify candidates whom it considers as unfit for state posts from running in elections.

The government has cited the bill as aiming to increase people's participation in elections and reduce wanton disqualification of hopefuls.

Asked whether the GC-Majlis dispute over the bill would be put to a referendum, Karroubi said he knew nothing about the issue, adding that holding a referendum had not been raised at the chamber yet.

Karroubi's remarks follow the announcement by the spokesperson of the IIPF faction in Majlis Rajabali Mazrouei who said that the bill will not be referred to the EC for arbitration, and vowed that the issue would be put to a referendum.

The Persian-language newspaper `Tosse' on Sunday quoted Mazrouei as saying that referendum would be "the only way" that the amended electoral bill could bear results, threatening that he would step down from his chair at the Majlis should the legislative is frustrated.

"The Islamic Iran Participation Front has decided to stop the bill from being referred to the EC because there is no opportunity in the council to discuss and settle the disputes, and the EC is likely to decide the fate of this bill the same way it did with the previous ones," he said.

Mazrouei, a deputy from Isfahan, further described as "very wrong" the approach the GC has adopted in dealing with Majlis bills, warning that such treatment would seriously harm the system and the country.

"At a time when ties between the system and people need to be improved so as to enable the country to reinforce solidarity and thwart foreign threats, the GC's measure is negative and it will be definitely responded by the Majlis and the government," he said.

"The GC's decision will frustrate the last hopes as envisaged in the Constitution to carry out reforms in the system."

... Payvand News - 4/6/03 ... --

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