Thursday, February 14, 2008

Slight Increase in Number of Reformist Candidates

Only 22 Reformist Disqualifications Reversed

by: Arash Sigarchi-- 2008.02.14

The spokesperson for the powerful Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, announced ‎yesterday the Council's decision to reverse the disqualification of 282 candidates who had ‎previously been barred by the administrative and oversight committees from running in ‎upcoming parliamentary elections in March. ‎
The wide scope of disqualifications angered many prominent politicians in the Islamic Republic. ‎Prominent figures such as former presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani and Khatami, and former ‎Majlis speaker Karoubi, publicly criticized the trend of disqualifications and even complained to ‎the supreme leader. ‎
Several other reformist figures, such as former president Khatami's top aide, Mohammad Reza ‎Aref, resigned from candidacy though they were qualified by the guardian Council. Aref ‎announced that he is resigning to protest disqualifications. Several prominent ayatollahs, such as ‎grand ayatollahs Montazeri and Makarem Shirazi, and ayatollahs Haeri Shirazi, Noormofidi, and ‎Amini also protested the disqualifications. ‎
Finally, the Guardian Council's website quoted the Council's spokesperson, Kadkhodaei, that, ‎‎"We will announce a new list of the qualified candidates in the coming days." ‎
Although the names of qualified candidates have not been officially announced yet, the Fars ‎news agency published a list of 273 qualified candidates on its main page last night. ‎
In a related news report, Mehr news agency reported that with the additional 22 qualified ‎reformist candidates, the number of reformist candidates vying for Majlis seats has increased ‎slightly. ‎
Officials from the reformist coalition told a Mehr reporter that they have heard the news of their ‎qualification, but have not received any official confirmations yet. ‎
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the reformist E'temad Melli party, Esmaeil Gerami ‎Moghaddam, confirmed reports of the qualification of additional reformist candidates. The ‎names of several members of the E'temad Melli party appear on the two unofficial lists of ‎qualified candidates. The party's spokesperson had previously announced that close to 70 ‎percent of the party's candidates had been disqualified. ‎
According to news reports, the Guardian Council has reversed the disqualification of Ayatollah ‎Khomeini's grandson, Ali Eshraghi. ‎

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