There are months to go before Iranians choose a new president, but the Islamic regime already appears to be preparing the ground for a preferred candidate. A controversial election-reform bill working its way through parliament contains measures that could prevent undesirables from running while granting the clerical establishment greater control over the election’s outcome in June 2013. The bill, which passed in its first reading on December 2, would tighten an already strict vetting process for potential candidates by adding prerequisites for age, experience, and loyalty to the establishment.
Ironically, the proposed legislation has been criticized as unconstitutional by sitting President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, whose reelection in 2009 led to mass street protests amid claims that the result was rigged.
Others have suggested that the measures are intended to favor candidates close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They could also prevent 78-year-old former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — who has angered regime loyalists over his support for the opposition movement — from returning to office.
Under the bill, anyone running for president would have to be 45 to 75 years of age. They would have to receive the approval of 25 members of the Assembly of Experts — a body of Islamic scholars that is tasked with electing the country’s supreme leader. And they would need written approval from 100 members of the 290-member parliament.
Full Article: Iranian Election Reform Could Favor Establishment Candidates.