Iran News ...


1/26/04

Guardians Council rejects amendment to Iran's electoral law

The Guardians Council has rejected outright an emergency amendment to the electoral law, after parliament approved it Sunday to make the supervisory boards' vetting of the prospective candidates less stringent, IRNA reported from Tehran on Monday reporting the local press.

According to the daily Yas-e No, "the Guardians Council found this three-star emergency bill contrary to the Sharia law and certain articles of the Constitution".

"The Guardians Council rejected the Majlis bill hours after its approval by the MPs," the daily said.

The amendment included addition of two clauses to the electoral law as countermeasure to the supervisory Guardians Council's rejection of many parliamentary aspirants on the ground that they lacked faith in Islam and the Islamic establishment.

One clause envisaged that a candidate, whose record is in question, can run in the contests if his or her qualifications are endorsed by at least 10 local 'trustees', including city and village councilors as well as Friday prayer leaders.

The other clause stated that any candidate whose qualification has been approved once cannot be barred unless there are legal evidence against them.

Over 3,600 candidates from among more than 8,000 of those registered for the February 20 elections have been declared as disqualified by the supervisory electoral boards.

Dozens of incumbent MPs, mostly barred from standing again, have held sit-ins to protest the blanket disqualifications.

On Saturday, press published the names of 76 deputy ministers who had tendered their resignations to President Khatami, including key deputy oil ministers Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Mohammad Aqaie and a high-profile figure in the development of giant Asaluyeh gas field, Asadollah Salehi-Forouz.

Among the disqualified are the first and second parliament deputies Mohammad Reza Khatami and Behzad Nabavi.

President Mohammad Khatami and Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi have called for 'a fundamental review at the earliest' of the wholesale disqualifications.

The two officials have described the rejections as 'unworthy of the religious and democratic establishment' of the Islamic Republic and called for 'healthy, free and competitive elections'.

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

"We announce again that an election in which about 190 of the seats (out the total 290) are impossible to be contested and the rest are screened in a way to boost the chances of a certain persuasion is unworthy of the religious and democratic establishment," they added.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has demanded that the mass disqualifications be reviewed and urged the Guardians Council to accelerate the work of re-examining those barred.

President Khatami has appealed to all political groups to stay calm and move in the framework of the law and avoid doing anything which may lead to tensions.

Jannati responds to Khatami-Karroubi joint statement

Secretary of the Guardian Council (GC) Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati called on President Mohammad Khatami and Majlis Speaker Mahdi Karroubi to assist the GC to fulfill its legal duties.

In a statement issued Sunday in response to an earlier one jointly issued by Khatami and Karroubi on the mass disqualifications of 7th Majlis hopefuls by the GC, the ayatollah referred to his remarks in Tehran Friday Prayers this week and stressed that principles of law and legal procedures have been the only criteria adhered to by the GC in assessing the qualifications of nominees.

He further pointed out that about 5,000 nominees have been declared as qualified by the GC which virtually gives 17 people the chance to compete for every single seat in the parliament.

"Does the figure imply lack of equal chances for competitions?" he said, adding that the claim that there are no chances of competition for about 190 seats is absolutely unacceptable.

President Khatami Chairs Cabinet meeting focused on election

President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday chaired a session of the government cabinet in Tehran.

Minister of Interior Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari, the government selected committee and several of provincial governor generals briefed the cabinet on activities by the authorized bodies on the task of following up on vetting of candidates for the upcoming 7th Majlis elections.

The cabinet stressed the need for abiding by the law in holding the election saying "a fair and competitive race is the principal of electoral process."

It also said based on guidance by the Supreme Leader, the government will pursue its activities until a free, competitive and fair election is held.

Meanwhile, Parliament on Sunday approved an emergency amendment to the electoral law following mass disqualifications to make the supervisory boards' vetting of the prospective candidates less stringent.

The amendment included addition of two clauses to the electoral law as countermeasure to the supervisory Guardians Council's rejection of many parliamentary aspirants on the ground that they lacked faith in Islam and the Islamic establishment.

Over 3,600 candidates from among more than 8,000 of those registered for the February 20 elections have been declared as disqualified by the supervisory electoral boards.

Dozens of incumbent MPs, mostly barred from standing again, have held sit-ins to protest the blanket disqualifications.

... Payvand News - 1/26/04 ... --



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