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Iran's President withdraws his twin bills from Majlis

Tehran, April 13, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami here Tuesday withdrew his twin bills on amendment of election law and enhancement of presidential power from the parliament.

In a letter to Majlis Speaker Mahdi Karroubi, he wrote that about one and half years ago he submitted the bill on amendment of the election law to the Majlis with the hope of preparing the ground for holding fair elections and also defending the undoubted right of people in a bid to prevent ruling of tastes over such an important procedure of elections which forms the bases of the religious democracy.

Likewise, he added, to ensure the ultimate authority of the president in executing the Constitution and working out tools of guaranteeing such an authority which has been dedicated only to the president by the Constitution, he submitted his second bill to the parliament.

However, he added, the Guardian Council (GC) returned the two bills to the Majlis due to alleged shortcomings and insisted on its own views despite the flexible attitudes of representatives of the cabinet and the parliament.

He further noted that in his opinion, even according to the present election law, there are numerous cases of violations by the supervisory boards and the GC.

Therefore, he expressed the hope in his letter that, since being accountable for their performance is the legal duty of every institution in the Islamic system, the GC, too, would not assume itself superior to the laws and account for its activities in the past years, particularly in the course of the recent elections in a year which has been dubbed as the year of being accountable by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The president went on to tell the parliament that since he was of the opinion that the remaining of the bill in Majlis agenda would only result in more changes to the bills which would contradict their true spirit and also the rights and interests of people as well as the role and situation of the president, he requested the withdrawal of the bills from the parliament now that they have not received final approval yet.

Khatami presented the twin bills to the Majlis last September as what he said could enable him to better deliver on his promises to the people and to actualize people's aspirations.

The bill on presidential power redefines Khatami's prerogatives by highlighting the president's right to warn any of the highest ranking officials of the three constitutional powers whenever needed and mete out punishment in case the warning is not heeded.

Also, the bill on amending the electoral law has been basically drawn up to address the GC's prerogative of approbatory supervision. Under the Constitution, the GC is authorized to reject any Majlis legislation which it deems contrary to the Sharia law of Islam or the Constitution.

After the fourth Majlis, however, the GC expanded its domain of responsibility to decide the competency of election nominees by interpreting one of its constitutional authorities - approbatory supervision - as a right to ensure that only nominees who meet its standards are allowed to run for the public office.

The bill on amending the electoral law was meant to increase people's participation in elections and reduce wanton disqualification of election hopefuls.

The GC rejected both the bills.

... Payvand News - 4/13/04 ... --

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