People’s trust in rulers more important than winning elections: Rouhani  

January 27, 2020 - 18:55

TEHRAN - President Hassan Rouhani on Monday highlighted the importance of the upcoming parliamentary elections, but noted that peoples’ trust in the country’s rulers is more important than the outcomes of elections. 

“Undoubtedly, the elections, especially the Islamic Consultative Assembly’s election is of great importance, but the people’s trust (in the rulers and the establishment), as well as social wealth, are more important than the elections,” Rouhani told a gathering of provincial and city governors ahead of the February 21 parliamentary elections. 

The parliamentary elections, the 11th of its kind since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, will be held in over 200 constituencies across the country’s 31 provinces.

Rouhani has criticized the Guardian Council for banning a considerable number of candidates, including sitting MPs, to run for parliament, indirectly suggesting that the council is favoring the principlist candidates over moderates or reformists.

“We all should guard republicanism of the system,” Rouhani said in his address to governors. 
 
“We are nothing. The durable power for a country is the people’s power,” the president said, noting that the rulers’ power is indebted to the people. 

The president said that the establishment’s call on people to partake in the elections should be similar to the call on people to participate in the rallies marking the victory of the Islamic Revolution or joining each other to defend the country in case of a war against the country by the aggressive enemies. 

“Do we invite a particular faction to attend the rallies marking the victory of the Revolution or do we invite all walks of the life (without any distinction),” the president asked, pointing indirectly to the Guardian Council’s assessment of the parliamentary hopefuls.

Article 99 of the constitution states that the Guardian 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 governors are directing and managing the elections. The country’s constitution has been cautious and has said a monitoring body (the Guardian Council) should monitor the elections process too in order to prevent any possible fault,” Rouhani said, adding, “But now the trend has become inverse. The monitoring body has been turned into the executive body and the executive body has been just turned into a logistic body.”

“I am worried about a (possible) day when the term Republic might be regarded as a crime,” the president added.

On Wednesday, Rouhani had said it is not possible that a single faction run the country. In response, Ayatollah Jannati, the Guardian Council chief, said his council does not favor one faction over another.

“The Guardian Council neither benefits nor agonizes from approving or rejecting the competence of anybody, and factions are not different for it,” Jannati said, adding the council “only sticks to law”. 

Jannati also criticized Rouhani for expressing dismay over the rejection of some candidates, saying, “The president should not make statements that would worry the public opinion or disappoint people or misused by the enemies.”

In his Monday address, Rouhani added, “The first election in Iran was a referendum. Some people feel unhappy about the term referendum, but they should know that the base of our election was a referendum. The main pillar of our establishment has been built on referendum via which we chose our establishment as an Islamic Republic.” 

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president pointed to the U.S. maximum pressure policy against his country and said, “(U.S. President Donald) Trump wants to say to the world that Iran is an abandoned lonely island. He wants to build a wall around Iran forever. We must not let him do so.”

The president pointed to the two FATF-related bills of Palermo and CFT, saying, “The rules and regulations that have been drafted by the government and been approved by the Majlis (parliament) should not remain uncertain… In this way, we will face a problem in our international interactions.”

On October 7, 2018, the parliament voted in favor of the CFT. However, the oversight Guardian Council rejected the bill by finding 22 faults with it, which put the fate of the bill at the hands of the Expediency Council.

The opposition to join the FATF rose after the Trump administration revoked the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018 and started imposing sanctions on Iran. Since that date, it has slapped multiple rounds of sanctions on Iran.

MJ/PA


 

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