Candidates not disqualified for criticizing Leader: Guardian Council

December 21, 2019 - 17:38

TEHRAN — The Guardian Council would not dismiss as ineligible the candidates who have criticized the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the council’s spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei said on Saturday. 

“We have a free country and merely criticizing an individual or body would not lead to disqualification,” Kadkhodaei told a press conference.

However, he added, insult, defamation and inflammatory remarks, which are clearly different from criticism, will be probed into when vetting candidates.

Under Iran’s constitution, the Guardian Council is tasked with vetting candidates running for office.

Article 99 of the constitution states that the council “is responsible for supervising the elections of the Experts Assembly, the President of the Republic, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and referrals to the public vote and referenda.”

The Guardian Council has been criticized for the way it vets and disqualifies candidates.

Responding to criticisms, Kadkhodaei said, “We have a free country and it is possible that some individuals speak in favor or against the Guardian Council.”

“But our criterion for the elections is only the law and we strive to put the proper implementation of the law on the agenda,” he added.

The spokesman explained that the council mulls a candidate’s qualification by consulting a number of state bodies, so as to reach a fair decision.

Iran’s next parliamentary elections will be held on February 21.

The Iranian parliament has 290 members who are elected by the people for four-year terms.

The upcoming parliamentary elections will be held in over 200 constituencies across the country’s 31 provinces.

The midterm elections of the Assembly of Experts will also be held on the same date in Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, Fars and Qom provinces.

Earlier this month, Kadkhodaei said that the council is the only body responsible to supervise the elections.

“Sometimes questions arise over whether we are the only supervisor of the elections or not,” Kadkhodaei said, adding, “I emphasize that the Guardian Council is the only supervisor of the elections.”

He said the Judiciary is tasked with investigating offenses and the Interior Ministry has an executive responsibility.

“This separation of supervision and execution is very important,” the spokesman remarked. “We should be able to implement our legal responsibilities properly.”

MH/PA

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