Iran: Changes To Iran’s Election Law Seen As Attempt To Prevent Ahmadinejad Influence | Radio Liberty

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.

Iran: Scrap election, says Iranian cleric Grand Ayatollah Jabar Sobhani | The Australian

One of Iran’s most senior clerics has declared that this year’s presidential election should be scrapped, with a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad handpicked by MPs rather than the people. With debate raging in Tehran over whether elections are free and fair, Grand Ayatollah Jabar Sobhani said June’s vote should be ditched to preserve national unity. The comments, by one of Iran’s highest religious authorities, suggest the regime is still nervous about retaining control of the election campaign and the result. The government was embarrassed by the nationwide protests that marred the 2009 poll, prompting a savage crackdown. “Although the president should be chosen by the people, it would be better if MPs chose him under the current circumstances . . . We must keep the unity of the word and national unity,” Ayatollah Sobhani said.

Iran: Election Tip to Critics: Keep Quiet | ABC News

Elections to pick Iran’s next president are still five months away, but that’s not too early for some warning shots by the country’s leadership. The message to anyone questioning the openness of the June vote: Keep quiet. A high-level campaign — including blunt remarks by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — seeks to muzzle any open dissent over the process to select the successor for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and likely usher in a new president with a far tamer political persona. Public denunciations are nothing new against anyone straying from Iran’s official script. But the unusually early pre-emptive salvos appears to reflect worries that the election campaign could offer room for rising criticism and complaints over Iran’s myriad challenges, including an economy sputtering under Western-led sanctions, double-digit inflation and a national currency whose value has nosedived.

Iran: Elections in Iran … just don’t mention the ‘f’ word |

Six months ahead of a vote that will end to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contentious presidency, talk of elections has already prompted top-level controversies in Tehran. This week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, asked officials not to make statements insinuating that previous elections were not free. The 73-year-old was speaking to a group of devout crowds from the holy city of Qom. In his speech, Khamenei criticised senior politicians who have indirectly cast doubt on the fairness of Iran’s electoral record.

Iran: Khamenei tells Iranians: criticising election will help enemies | Reuters

Iran’s most powerful leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned the Iranian public on Tuesday against helping Tehran’s enemies by criticising the forthcoming presidential election. Iranians go to the polls in June to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Iran’s leadership is keen to avoid a repeat of the widespread protests that followed the last presidential vote in 2009. Khamenei’s comments appear to be a response to a debate inside Iran about whether reformist candidates – those with a more moderate stance on issues such as social policy and greater political freedoms – should be allowed to run.

Iran: Election laws under debate | The Washington Post

Proposed changes in Iran’s election laws are proving contentious, sparking a debate over who should decide which candidates can compete in June’s contest to succeed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The possible reforms and the controversy around them mark another round in the struggle between Ahmadinejad and his more conservative rivals, who hope to stymie any chance that an ally of the administration might continue its agenda, including the populist economic policies that many here believe have contributed to Iran’s recent fiscal woes.

Iran: Majlis set to change election law | News.Az

Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) is set to make some important changes to the Islamic Republic’s presidential electoral law. “Election law needed to be reformed. The changes to the composition of the provincial executive board will definitely help the Interior Ministry during the whole process of elections,” Iranian lawmaker Laleh Eftekhari said. Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the planned changes, saying the amendments would pave the way for the parliament’s interference in the electoral process.

Iran: President opposes election changes | The Seattle Times

A news agency reports Iran’s president is urging parliament to abandon possible revisions in laws governing presidential elections. The call appears part of widening political battles before June’s election to pick Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s successor. Ahmadinejad has faced attacks from powerful rivals since defying Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last year over a key Cabinet post.

Iran: Speaker dismisses “concerns” over presidential election reform bill | APA

Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed Monday “concerns” over the recent presidential election reform bill prepared by the Iranian lawmakers, APA reports quoting Xinhua. On Sunday, Majlis passed generalities of the presidential election reform bill. According to part of the bill, a presidential candidate requires at least 100 lawmakers to endorse him as a statesman or at least 12 members of the assembly of experts to endorse him before he can present his credentials, Press TV reported.

Iran: Iranian Presidential Election: A Path to Reform | World Policy Institute

Last month, the Iranian Interior Ministry announced that the next presidential election had officially been scheduled for June 14, 2013. Despite mechanisms already in place to limit reformers’ influence in the government, including the vetting process performed by the Guardian Council and the willingness to falsify election results as occurred in the 2009 presidential election, Iran’s presidency remains an avenue to liberalize the Iranian government. For this reason, the Supreme Leader considers the presidency a potential threat and will likely influence the upcoming election to make sure one of his allies comes to power. However, the dire economic straits that Iran finds itself in are likely to make an anti-reformist hijacking of Iran’s premier elective office a much harder sell this time around.

Iran: June 14 set for presidential poll | Reuters

Iran will hold presidential elections on June 14 next year, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, the first such vote since a violent crackdown on protests over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009. The 2013 presidential vote is expected to be a contest between candidates representing Ahmadinejad’s allies and his more conservative opponents. Ahmadinejad himself cannot run for a third term due to a constitutional limit.

Iran: MP accuses Revolutionary Guards of interfering in election | Al-Arabiya

Iranian veteran conservative MP Ali Motahari accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of interfering in the results of the latest parliamentary elections amid retaliation threats by IRGC senior officials. IRGC General Ramadan Sharif, was quoted in a statement posted on the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency as saying the military body is, and will always be, committed to the teachings of the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini and will therefore never interfere in legislative elections. The IRGC, the statement added, did not influence in any way the results of the March 2 elections, which witnessed a major victory for the supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, some of whom are IRGC members. IRGC members were infuriated by the accusations Motahari, one of Iran’s most daring and independent MPs, hurled at them in the parliament session held Sunday and threatened to take the MP to court if he does not withdraw his “allegations.”

Iran: Second round of parliamentary elections to be held in Iran | AFP

Iran will hold a second round of parliamentary elections on Friday to decide 65 seats still outstanding in its 290-member legislature following a March 2 first round. Conservative MPs of various stripes easily dominated in the first round, meaning the parliament’s political stance is unlikely to change significantly from the previous legislature. But with half of them new faces, it will take until after the inauguration of the next parliament, at the end of this month, to see how that conservative force is configured.

Editorials: Iran’s Parliamentary Vote: The Beginning of the End of Ahmadinejad | Angie Ahmadi/Huffington Post

Last Friday, Iran held its first elections since the controversial 2009 presidential contest, after which millions of voters poured into streets of Tehran. Unrest following the announced re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad culminated in mass detention, torture and the death of many protesters. It also led to the near-elimination of pro-reform political forces in the Islamic Republic. For this very reason, the parliamentary vote last week should be viewed as an unrepresentative sham — nothing more than a selection process amongst the ruling conservative elite. As the dispute between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad runs deeper, this election is widely interpreted as a battle between these two political heavyweights. With the ballot boxes now counted, the outcome categorically declares Khamenei as the winner — as was broadly anticipated. But placing Iran’s future policy trajectory in its proper context requires caution against reaching hasty conclusions. The results clearly show that candidates openly associated with Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie failed to enter the parliament. However, the Islamic Revolution Durability Front, backed by ultra-conservative Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi and fairly close to Ahmadinejad, performed relatively well, thereby lessening the possibility of a solid opposition to the president emerging in the new parliament.

Iran: Ahmadinejad rivals rack up parliament wins in Iran | AP

Conservative rivals of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared on course Saturday to gain firm control of parliament after elections that could embolden Iran’s nuclear defiance and give the ruling clerics a clear path to ensure a loyalist succeeds Ahmadinejad next year. Although Iran’s 290-seat parliament has limited sway over key affairs _ including military and nuclear policies _ the elections highlight the political narratives inside the country since Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 and sets the possible tone for his final 18 months in office. Reformists were virtually absent from the ballot, showing the crushing force of crackdowns on the opposition. Instead, Friday’s elections became a referendum on Ahmadinejad’s political stature after he tried to challenge the near-total authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to decide critical government policies such as intelligence and foreign affairs.

Iran: Some Iran parliament candidates to face second round of voting | The Washington Post

Iran’s interior minister on Monday announced a second round of parliamentary elections in April in several key cities, including the capital, after candidates in a number of consituencies failed to reach the necessary vote threshhold to be elected. Under the Iranian electoral system, a candidate must receive at least 25 percent of the votes to be elected. In Tehran, the largest constituency in Iran, only five of 30 pre-selected candidates received enough votes. Several seats in large cities such as Mashhad, Shiraz and Abadan also remained undecided. A date for the second round has not yet been set.

Iran: Iran to hold runoff parliamentary vote | Reuters

Iran will hold run-off elections for 65 parliamentary seats, state media said on Monday, after loyalists to the paramount clerical leader won a dominating majority at the expense of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The widespread defeat of Ahmadinejad’s allies in the 290-seat assembly is expected to reduce the president to a lame duck for the rest of his second and final term, and increase Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s influence in the country’s 2013 presidential election. Khamenei swiftly endorsed Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009, rejecting opposition allegations of widespread fraud that led to eight months of unrest, crushed bloodily by security forces. But a rift opened between the two leaders after – critics of Ahmadinejad said – the president tried to undermine the leading political role of clergy in the Islamic Republic.

Iran: Iran claims high turnout in elections – but there’s no way to verify |

High turnout was everything that mattered for the Iranian leaders in parliamentary election on Friday. They were desperate to portray a country united against western pressure, predicted high turnout and announced more than 64% voted in the election, higher than 57% parliamentary vote in 2008. In absence of independent observers and opinion polls, it is impossible to say whether the official figures are correct. The opposition had largely boycotted the vote and was quick to find contradictory signs. They pointed to a gaffe made on live TV by Seyed Solat Mortazavi, the head of election centre at the interior ministry. On state television, Mortazavi quoted the interior minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, as saying that the turnout was almost 34%, but instantly corrected to 64%. The other blunder came from the Mehr news agency, which had reported 373,000 people eligible for voting in the province of Ilam. The same agency reported 380,000 had voted there. Mehr later amended the figure on its website to 280,000.

Iran: Khamenei loyalists trounce Ahmadinejad in Iran election | JPost

Loyalists of Iran’s paramount clerical leader have won over 75 percent of seats in parliamentary elections, a near-complete count showed, largely reducing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a lame duck in a contest between conservative hardline factions. The outcome of Friday’s vote, largely shunned by reformists whose leaders are under house arrest, will have no major impact on Iran’s foreign policy including its nuclear dispute with the West. But it will give Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s camp a significant edge in the 2013 presidential election. The widespread defeat of Ahmadinejad’s supporters was likely to erode the authority of the president, under fire from Khamenei’s allies for challenging the utmost authority of the supreme leader in Iran’s multi-layered ruling hierarchy.

Iran: Second round needed in Iran election |

Early results of Friday’s parliamentary elections in Iran show fundamentalists critical of president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad in the lead. Analysts, however, are cautious in calling this a major defeat for Iran’s president, and stress his political weight in the next 290-seat parliament remains unclear. In more than 30 constituencies, including the capital Tehran, some candidates failed to attract more than 25 per cent of the vote, the minimum needed to win a race. Second-round elections will be held for each of these seats.

Iran: Iran election results show Ahmadinejad rivals making gains | The National

Conservative rivals of Iran’s hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were leading the race for seats in parliament, according to initial results yesterday from Friday’s elections that the reformist movement shunned as a sham. The trend, if confirmed by final official results, will leave the president facing a more hostile house during his remaining 18 months in office. Analysts had predicted a strong showing by Mr Ahmadinejad’s hardline opponents. They are loyal to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been locked in a power struggle with the unruly president he once championed. Mr Ahmadinejad had hoped a robust performance by his candidates would give him a political lifeline and a say in who succeeds him in the presidential election next year when his second term ends.

Iran: Conservatives contest poll for parliament | BBC News

Voting in Iran’s parliamentary election has been extended by two hours because of a high turnout, state media report. It is the first poll since mass opposition protests were sparked by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed presidential election victory in 2009. The vote is widely viewed as a contest between his supporters and those of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The opposition Green Movement is not taking part. Its leaders have been under house arrest since February 2011.

Iran: High turnout reported in Iran for parliamentary elections | The Washington Post

Iranians voted Friday in parliamentary elections, the country’s first major ballot since the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 led to months of anti-government protests. No disturbances are expected to follow the vote this time around. The key question Friday was how many of the more than 48 million eligible voters would go to the polls to elect 290 new legislators. Late in the day, state TV reported a preliminary turnout of 64.5 percent, and voting was extended by five hours. While it was difficult to verify turnout, with no independent monitors on the ground, several polling stations in Tehran were receiving a constant stream of voters. Results are expected Sunday for larger cities and Monday for rural areas.

Iran: Iran: 48 million voters denied information, 48 journalists denied freedom | Reporters Without Borders

On the eve of tomorrow’s parliamentary elections in Iran, Reporters Without Borders condemns the censorship imposed on the media, which prevents them from playing their role during the polling, and the continuing, relentless crackdown on journalists. Iran’s 48 million voters are being denied the independently-reported news and information they need to make a choice. The crackdown on journalists and netizens has intensified. No independent media has been spared the political and judicial harassment that the various ruling clans have orchestrated since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in June 2009. A total of 48 journalists and netizens are currently detained, making Iran the world’s third biggest prison for the media.

Iran: Key constituencies disillusioned as Iran votes | Reuters

Like many members of Iran’s paramilitary volunteer force, Mohammadreza Baqeri was a supporter of Iran’s conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nearly three years after Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election, the 27-year-old blogger says he will not vote for Ahminadejad’s camp in parliamentary elections on Friday. “I want new faces. I want a vocal parliament that can have an impact in the country,” said Baqeri, a member of the Basij paramilitary force. “I want a parliament with young and ambitious lawmakers.”

Iran: What’s at stake in Iran’s elections | Asia Times

Parliamentary elections this Friday in Iran are far from being free and fair. Well, at least that’s a step beyond those paragons of democracy – the election-free Persian Gulf monarchies. In Iran, this time the problem is there’s no opposition; it’s cons (conservatives) against neo-cons. The Green Movement leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Dr Zahra Rahnavard, as well as Mehdi Karroubi, have been under house arrest for over a year now; echoing Myanmar’s Aung Suu Kyi, but more vocally, they have repeatedly stressed they will not “repent”. Virtually all key opposition leaders, including university activists, almost 1,000 people, are in jail; not because they’re criminals but because they’re very canny organizers of popular anger.