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Iranian President says he will withdraw bill on president's authority

Tehran, March 17, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that he will withdraw the bill he had earlier delivered to the parliament on extension of power of the president.

The bill which empowers the president to stop a court verdict from being implemented when the chief executive deemed it unconstitutional was passed by the reformist sixth parliament, but, faced an objection from the Guardian Council.

The law had envisaged that the Supreme Court would undertake re-examination of the lawsuit when the president objects to the verdict.

However, the bill shared the same destiny that dozens of other legislation passed by the reformist Majlis bearing the seal of the Guardian Council's rejection.

The president said that he is afraid that the new parliament with a conservative majority may use the bill to cut the current rights of the chief executive.

"We submitted several bills which were resisted by the Guardian Council. Even the dignitaries of the Guardian Council rejected their own statement that the president is responsible for implementing the Constitution," President Khatami said.

He bitterly criticized the Guardian Council saying that the people who seek their own rights want policymaker and supervisor, but, they don't want mandatory form of ruling system.

Disclosing that he lost hope with the Guardian Council's mandatory attitude towards the executive branch of the government, he said, "Never mind. The people will know their president's attitude and the scope of his authority. Please expect me at the same level.

"The people should know that according to certain dignitaries the president is no longer the second figure after the Supreme Leader charged with upholding the Constitution and defending the rights of the people. They downgraded the president as an official in charge of logistic affairs of the system," he deplored.

He said that though he believes that the rights of many people who were disqualified from running in the election have been violated, he was ready to work with the new parliament.

"I confirm those who have recently been elected to the parliament. I believe that Majlis is at the helm of administrative affairs. I respect the votes of people. Respect for the votes is the concept the reform camp advocates. The slogans of the new MPs on the eve of the seventh election were indication that the reform camp had been successful in the community, because the slogans were pretty different from what were common before May 23, 1997.

"The new MPs would exercise good cooperation with the government if they were committed to the slogans they gave ahead of the election," he said.

Asked about the set-back in the process of the democratic movement of the country, President Khatami said, "The problem emanates from fundamental shortages in the process of democracy. When the mandatory attitude takes the place of supervision. The official in charge of supervision doesn't trust other officials working within the system and sets up parallel intelligence system to impose his views. We have major hurdles in the way of democracy."

The president said that he believes the Guardian Council undermines the ruling system with the approaches it currently adopted.

He expressed concern about summoning the MPs critical of the Guardian Council to the court and called on head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi to stop the trend taking place in a series of indictments by the prosecutor.

... Payvand News - 3/17/04 ... --

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