Sunday, February 21, 2010

Iran’s Electoral Laws Under Review

Rafsanjani, center, flanked by Ali Larijani (r) and Sadeq Larijani
Expediency Council Reviewing Iran's Electoral Laws
Tehran. 21 February

Iran’s Expediency Council convened an all-important meeting today to revamp the country’s electoral laws. The meeting, chaired by Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani serving as deputy chairmen, will have to make recommendations on the role of the Guardian Council in vetting candidates for office, including the candidates running for president and parliament. The meeting was convened under the direction of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election last June.

As is, the Guardian Council can deny candidacy to anyone it deems not qualified to run for office. Last year, only four candidates, including Mousavi and Karubi, were qualified to run for presidency.

The Expediency Council and its chairman are believed to favor the formation of a “National Electoral Commission” to oversee the election process. The critics on the right are already accusing Rafsanjani of trying to dismantle the Guardian Council and get away with the vetting process.

“The game, in one word, is to eliminate the Guardian Council from the vetting process,” said Hossein Shariatmadari, the influential editor of ultra-conservative daily Kayhan.

Any proposal to create a National Electoral Commission is against Islamic Republic constitution, Shariatmadari argued in an editorial that appeared in today’s edition of his newspaper.

The creation of the electoral commission and elimination of the vetting process will be a significant reform toward democratization of Iranian politics.


Anonymous said...

So in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the electoral process vetted 4 candidates for president, and these 4 candidates were permitted to participate in debates on national television.

In the United States of America, the "corporate" process vetted 2 candidates for president, and these 2 candidates were permitted to participate in debates on national television.


You think there was such a government call to review America's electoral laws-such as the archaic Electoral College- after the flawed elections of 2000 (where it was proven the wrong candidate was declared winner by a politically partisan judiciary) and 2004?

The Iranians almost appear progressive by comparison- y'think?

Nader Uskowi said...


This is what I think. We should discuss and debate issues regarding Iran’s future political development on its own merits. The subject in this particular post is whether the current electoral laws in Iran need to be reformed. The politicians in the heart of this discussion are among the top layers of the Iranian establishment, including the three gentlemen whose names are mentioned here. This is a serious discussion about the future of the country, and belittling it does not make the issues disappear.

No matter what issues are discussed regarding Iran, we can stop the debate by drawing examples of others, and in effect try leaving the status quo intact. An old and tried tactic! If one wants to discuss the country’s nuclear policies, one is warned that because Israel has weapons, we should not even discuss Iran’s policies. When we talk about reforms of electoral laws, one is reminded that others have same problems, thus better to kill the discussion now. When one talks about the Green movement, one is reminded not to discuss issues that might be used by the West to weaken Iran’s position.

The funny thing, however, is that the proponents of these types of warnings end up acting as diehard supporters of the status quo. Don’t question anything, because somewhere in the globe a worst example exists. This is not a healthy approach to the problems facing the Iranian society.