Monitoring body might revise disqualifications in Iran elections

Iran Materials 9 February 2008 14:22 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Iran's main election monitoring body may revise the disqualifications of a score of mainly reformist candidates for next month's parliamentary elections, official news agency IRNA reported Saturday.

"If the rights (of candidates) were violated, then we would definitely revise (the initial disqualifications)," said the spokesman of the Guardian Council which is constitutionally in charge of monitoring the ideological qualification of candidates for parliamentary and presidential elections.

"I hope we will have good news before February 22," Abbas-Ali Kadlkhodaei added.

More than 2,000 candidates for the March 14 elections, including a large number of reformists, have reportedly been banned by interior ministry monitoring committees even before reaching the Guardian Council.

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, who leads the reformist wing, has called the election process and the widespread disqualifications a "catastrophe."

Kadlkhodaei claimed that some the disqualifications were due to a lack of required documents which were to be attached to the candidacy applications, "such as the university graduation document."

The spokesman, however, confirmed that there has been concern from several sides, including from high-ranking clerics, over the vast number of disqualifications.

The pro-Khatami reformists have formed a coalition with moderate factions close to ex-president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani to run in the elections against the factions supporting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

However, the disqualifications, reportedly including former ministers and even the grandson of late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, have de facto hindered the reformist- moderate coalition from having an equal chance in the elections.

Khatami accused the interior ministry of following "the trend of predetermining the people's votes" and warned that such a trend could seriously jeopardize the system.