Iran’s Guardians Council has approved changes to the country’s election law that significantly diminish the government’s authority over elections. A Guardians Council spokesman said the new law stipulates that elections will be run by a new central election board made up of representatives from the three branches of power, as well as seven “national, political, social, and cultural” figures. Previously, the Interior Ministry was tasked with organizing and overseeing all elections. Now it will play a much smaller role.
The changes, which come as the Islamic republic prepares for a June 14 presidential vote, appear to be a preemptive move to prevent President Mahmud Ahmadinejad from using his office to manipulate the vote.
“A major part of the changes were made because of the concerns of the conservative critics of the Iranian president who are worried that Ahmadinejad and his team could try to interfere in the election and influence the results,” says Iranian journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi. “They have therefore limited to a great extent the authority of the [Interior Ministry] to prevent such a possibility. Reformists and opposition members brought fraud charges against Ahmadinejad in the 2009 vote.”