Guardian Council reacts negatively to provincialize elections

May 18, 2019

TEHRAN - The spokesman of the Guardian Council on Saturday reacted negatively to the prospects of provincializing elections, saying the council deems there would be downsides to doing so.

Speaking at a press conference, Abbasali Kadkhodaei said the Guardian Council is not against provincialization “but it will lead to smaller turnout, violation of the rights of candidates and people, and go against equity in elections.”

The Majlis is considering a bill that would have the collection and counting of parliamentary votes at provincial level.

Kadkhodaei said there are 10 instances of ambiguity in the bill regarding which the Guardian Council is seeking clarification. “Four instances were against Sharia while there were other instances that went against the Constitution,” he said.

Just recently the government cabinet expressed their general agreement to the provincialization bill.

Earlier this month, 15 Iranian think tanks voiced concerns over the motion to change parliamentary elections from local to provincial level, saying the move would decrease voter turnout.

In an open letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, the think tanks claimed the move is contrary to general election policies and would have “catastrophic” social, political, legal and security consequences.

They further said it would deepen the rift among ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, and would pose a threat against national security.

It would “block the people’s communication links with the establishment and would radicalize the public atmosphere,” they argued. 

The think tanks called on the lawmakers to avoid partisanship and haste, and to make well-considered decisions in order to safeguard the country’s interests.

Also in early May, members of the principlist faction of the House of Parties criticized the plan to hold parliamentary elections at provincial level, saying the plan is “premature” and needs further study.

The principlist politicians reached a consensus in their first meeting that the plan is “ill-considered” and no “deep expert work” has been done on it.

The parliamentary election will be held on February 21, 2020.

The Guardian Council vets candidates for presidential, parliamentary, and Assembly of Experts elections and monitors elections.

SP/PA

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