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Iran: GC's practice contrary to Constitution, Ayatollah Mousavi-Tabrizi

The process the Guardian Council is conducting to determine the qualification of the applicants is contradictory to the Constitution, Head of the Political Parties House Ayatollah Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi said on Saturday, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"The process the Guardian Council is following in supervising the election has in fact deprived the people of their legitimate right to elect their own representatives.

The fifth Majlis gave an authority to the Guardian Council to deal with the eligibility of the candidates -- an extra power than the constitutional provision to supervise the election.

According to the Constitution, the the Interior Ministry is responsible for holding the election and the Guardian Council should oversee that the elections are held in an healthy atmosphere.

The sixth parliament passed a legislation to nullify the authority the Guardian Council enjoys in light of the extra constitutional right the fifth Majlis offered to the body.

But, the Guardian Council resisted the move and refused to relinquish the extra power which has led to the current undemocratic atmosphere.

Insistence of the sixth parliament on the matter brought the ire of the Guardian Council as a result of which they announced disqualification of over 80 incumbent MPs.

MPs want to draw attention to magnitude of GC's mistakes, Kianoush-Rad

The MPs staging a sit-in protest aim to draw the attention of high ranking officials to the magnitude of the mistakes the Guardian Council has made in disqualifying the candidates for February 20 elections, MP from Ahvaz Mohammad Kianoush-Rad said on Saturday, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"Of course, if the Guardian Council takes a positive step in this respect, there will be no reason to proceed with the protest," he said.

Chairman of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati acknowledged on Friday that the GC has made mistake in its wholesale disqualification against the applicants and will correct it soon.

But, those subject to the disqualification, who are mainly from the reform camp, say that the scenario is premeditated by the conservatives who lost the parliament's seats dramatically in 2000.

"They are lingering on correcting their mistake to give their fellow conservatives to take the lead in the election campaign," the sit-in MPs said.

They want to help certain people to take advantage of the 'privilege' the Guardian Council has offered to the friends, Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said last week.

However, the people will consider the candidates' programs in electing their representatives, the conservatives have nothing to say, another MP supporting the sit-in protest said.

Kianoush-Rad said that the sit-in protest will go on until January 30 when the Guardian Council is expected to correct what it said were its mistakes.

Khatami and Karroubi call for 'fundamental review' of rejections

President Mohammad Khatami and Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Saturday called for "a fundamental review in the earliest" of wholesale disqualifications, which bar many candidates from standing in February's parliamentary elections.

In a joint statement, the two officials described the rejections as "unworthy of the religious-democratic establishment" of the Islamic Republic and called for "healthy, free and competitive elections".

"We hope that the esteemed Guardians Council, above the existing psychological (campaign) and propaganda, will pave the way for healthy, free and competitive elections by reviewing the supervisory boards' rulings in the earliest," the statement said.

Spokesman of the central supervisory board of the seventh Majlis elections, Mohammad Jahromi, said here on Saturday that the Guardians Council (GC) is expected to declare its final decision on complaints lodged by disqualified candidates intending to run for the upcoming February-20 elections by January 30.

Thus the GC is going to make the best use of the remaining time to look into cases of candidates whose qualifications were rejected by the supervisory board.

According to the law, January 30 is the deadline set by the GC for probing into the candidates' qualifications.

Over 3,000 candidates of a total 8,000 who registered for the seventh Majlis elections have been declared as disqualified by the supervisory electoral boards.

The majority of the disqualified candidates who have lodged their complaints to Majlis claim that once the final results on the assessment of their qualifications come out by the GC-set deadline, they would end up losing time against the other contenders who have already launched their electoral campaign.

"The latest outcome of assessment of the disqualified candidates, whose qualifications have been approved after they submitted their complaint, have been posted daily in the related cities, provinces and the Interior Ministry," added Jahromi.

Putting the number of the candidates approved so far at 400, he noted, "The files found legally disqualified, have been examined more closely and the process will continue under the supervision of the relevant supervisory electoral boards."

The official said that the candidates who have been rejected in accordance with the latest GC inquiries once more, can submit their complaints to the council on January 31 and February 1-2 and they will be reassessed within a week.

"The GC's final decision on the disqualified candidates is due to be announced on February 9, details of which will be released in the electoral centers on February 10-11.

"The approved candidates will launch campaign in their respective electoral centers starting February 12," he concluded.

... Payvand News - 1/24/04 ... --

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