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posted May 01, 2001 09:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Supervisory official says by-election will not be held in Khalkhal

BBC Monitoring Service
Apr 30, 2001

Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA

Tehran, 30 April: [Some] 174 candidates will run in the parliamentary by-election for 16 seats on 8 June, spokesman of the Central Supervisory Board Gholamhoseyn Elham said on Monday [30 April].

He said that the Supervisory Board has rejected 111 applicants across the country adding that the Executive Board had already turned down 34 applicants.

Elham said that the parliamentary by-election will be held in 14 constituencies, including Tehran where 61 contenders will vie for the single seat remaining from Tehran's 30 seats.

He said that 103 applicants had applied of which five had been rejected by the Executive Board and 36 others by the Central Supervisory Board so that there remained 61 candidates for the single seat of Tehran constituency.

The Executive Board works on behalf of the Interior Ministry and the Central Supervisory Board acts on behalf of the Guardian Council. The Interior Ministry is in charge of holding the nationwide elections and the Guardian Council is empowered to supervise the election and take measures to deal with possible vote rigging.

Differences have emerged between the two bodies over lack of fund and facilities that members of the Supervisory Board need in doing their job.

The Supervisory Board complained that the Interior Ministry doesn't supply them with logistical equipment to fulfil their duty on one hand, and the government has failed to provide the Guardian Council with fund and facilities to support the Supervisory Board on the other.

Elham said that parliamentary by-election in the city of Khalkhal, Ardebil Province, will not be held because of lack of security in the city for members of the Supervisory Board.

He said that in the February 1999 parliamentary election, the members of the Supervisory Board had been attacked by those protesting nullification of the election results in the city.

The Interior Ministry said that there exists full security in Khalkhal.

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posted May 01, 2001 09:51     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
40 percent of MP candidates rejected for 'non-comformity' with Islam

TEHRAN, April 30 (AFP) - More than 40 percent of those hoping to stand for a parliament seat in June's by-elections were rejected by an oversight body for "non-conformity" with Iran's Islamic values, newspapers reported Monday.

Reformists allied to President Mohammad Khatami denounced the decision, claiming that virtually all of their own candidates had been turned down by the conservative-led Guardians Council.

The council dismissed 145 of the 356 people who applied to run as candidates for the 17 seats to be filled on June 8, when voters will also choose Iran's next president, the governmental Iran paper said.

It said 34 had links with the Iraq-based opposition People's Mujahedeen, while others were rejected for an array of reasons including the possession or consumption of drugs and alcohol.

The names of those blocked from standing were not released, but the pro-reform daily Norouz said among them was Rasoul Montajabnia, a cleric and Khatami ally hoping to stand for the one seat up for grabs from Tehran.

It said 44 people seeking to fill that seat, vacated by former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani after his relatively poor showing at the polls last year, were rejected in all.

Mohsen Rahami, the defence lawyer for Khatami's former interior minister Abdollah Nuri as well as students implicated in the 1999 unrest at Tehran university, was also rejected by the council, it said.

The largest pro-reform party -- the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), headed by Khatami's brother -- blasted the rejections as "incredible."

The council, headed by leading conservative Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, is comprised of six clerics and an equal number of jurists.

The powerful oversight body, which also ensures that new legislation passed by parliament is in line with Islamic law, must also vet all candidates for the presidency, who have until May 6 to declare their intention to stand.

Khatami has still not announced whether he intends to run for election to a second four-year term, the maximum he is allowed under the constitution.

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posted May 01, 2001 09:52     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran reformist protest against candidate disqualifications

BBC World
April 30, 2001

There's been an angry reaction from reformists in Iran over what they say is the disqualification of virtually all their candidates from parliamentary by-elections in June. The polls in seventeen consituencies are for seats left vacant after last year's general elections in which reformists won a sweeping victory.

They coincide with the presidential election for which the incumbent reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, has yet to announce his candidacy.

The biggest reformist party, the Participation Front, said the disqualifications amounted to a bitter admission by conservatives that conservative candidates were not capable of competing with reformists in a fair election. It urged the Iranian people to respond by turning out massively to vote in the presidential poll.

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posted May 03, 2001 10:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reformists & conservatives in war of words over election rejection

TEHRAN, May 1 (AFP) - Iran's battling reformists and conservatives traded more jibes Tuesday after 40 percent of those hoping to stand for parliament in June's by-elections were blocked by a powerful oversight body.

The rejected candidates were said to be largely reformists allied to President Mohammad Khatami, who has yet to announce whether he himself will seek re-election when voters choose Iran's next president on the same day.

"These unjustified rejections risk harming the regime and particularly its credibility with the people," charged MP Behzad Nabavi, vice-president of the reform-majority parliament, at the opening of Tuesday's legislative session.

Nabavi, a close Khatami ally who heads one of the major factions in the president's coalition, said the decision would turn off voters by giving them no real choice when they go to the polls on June 8.

"We can't ask the people to select a kilo of pears out of a kilo of pears," said Nabavi, whose remarks met with an angry reaction from conservative MPs on the floor of the chamber.

Several rose to accuse him of exceeding his authority in criticising the conservative-led Guardians Council, which under the constitution must vet all candidates to ensure they hold fast to Iran's Islamic values.

The council rejected 145 out of 356 parliamentary hopefuls for "non-conformity" with Islam, saying many had links to illegal opposition groups or movements loyal to the monarchy which was deposed by the clergy in 1979.

Others were accused of having histories of drug and alcohol use, both illegal in the Islamic republic.

A full list of rejected candidates has not been made public, but reformists said that practically all pro-reform hopefuls had been blocked by the "incredible" decision of the council.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest reform party which is headed by Khatami's brother, said in a statement Monday that the decision showed conservatives were running scared ahead of the elections.

"This measure is a bitter admission by the conservatives of losing the people's confidence, and the incompetence of their hopefuls to vie in free elections," it said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

Voters will fill a number of empty seats in parliament, including one seat from Tehran vacated last year by former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who did not take his place in the assembly after a weak showing at the polls.

The vote will also decide Iran's next president, and candidates can begin filing election papers as of Wednesday.

All papers must be filed by May 6, and the Guardians Council will then vet candidates and announce a final list by May 17.

Khatami, expected to win easily if he stands for a second four-year term, has remained coy about his plans, going public in recent months over his frustration at his limited powers of office.

Conservatives charge his reticence has been merely a campaign ploy to stir up voter support.

Khatami's reform movement has been stymied by conservatives, who hold key state institutions such as the courts and police, over which the president has no control.

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posted May 03, 2001 10:31     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No jail for Tajzadeh but also no election role says court

TEHRAN, May 2 (AFP) - The Tehran appeals court Wednesday confirmed a lower court ban on Deputy Interior Minister Mostafa Tajzadeh that effectively barred him from supervising next month's presidential election, Iranian radio reported.

At the same time, however, the court overturned a one-year prison sentence imposed on Tajzadeh in March after he was found guilty of fraud in last year's parliamentary vote, the report said.

Tehran's administrative court had sentenced Tajzadeh, a reformist and close ally of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, to one year in jail, barred him from holding public office for 39 months and barred him from overseeing elections for six years.

He was convicted of "complicity in electoral fraud" during the February 2000 election that gave reformists control of parliament.

He had also allegedly refused to carry out a "recount mission" ordered by the Guardians Council, the conservative-led electoral oversight body.

The radio report Wednesday said the appeals court had "sentenced Tajzadeh to a 30-month ban on exercising any public function." The ruling was announced the same day that people began filing their candidacies for the June 8 presidential election, which the interior ministry had insisted Tajzadeh would be overseeing.

In a separate action, the court overturned a prison sentence imposed on Tehran Governor Ayatollahi Azarmi, who was tried at the same time as Tazjadeh, the radio said. However, it said he was banned from holding public office for 24 months.

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