Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Parliamentary Elections: Unfair and Corrupt

While former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami warned that irregularities in the ‎eight Majlis elections may become a “trend,” in its latest statement following the second ‎round of elections in several cities across Iran, the Committee for Defense of Free, ‎Healthy and Fair Elections characterized the eight Majlis elections as “not free, unfair, ‎and corrupt." ‎
Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, whose recent remarks in interviews with foreign media has ‎enraged some right-wingers in Iran, said in an interview about irregularities in the eight ‎Majlis elections, “The worry is mostly that this method will become a trend. We must all ‎fear this and stop it. If some act to undermine free election and the people’s freedom of ‎choice, they have done a very terrible thing.” ‎
Criticizing widespread disqualifications, Khatami added, “In two-thirds of races, one ‎party that is committed to Islam, Iran, and development and progress of this nation was ‎not allowed to introduce any candidates… I am glad that the dear head of the ‎Expediency Council and even the dear interior minister protest this and say that ‎fundamental reforms must be undertaken in this field (elections) and especially in ‎determining the criteria for qualification of candidates. Although I truly hope that this ‎remark does not mean that the dear interior minister will lose his post in the near future! ‎It is necessary that a comprehensive and complete report [of election irregularities] be ‎prepared and presented to the supreme leader and next Majlis to uncover the realities.” ‎

Coinciding with Khatami’s remarks, the Committee for Defense of Free, Healthy and ‎Fair Elections, which has as a member Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and other ‎prominent Iranian figures, released a statement with the completion of second round of ‎eight Majlis election. The statement notes, “Not taking into account systemic and legal ‎problems with the electoral system in Iran, and independent of irregularities witnessed ‎during the first round of eight Majlis elections (including: disqualification of candidates, ‎open support of some government institutions, radio and television in particular, for a ‎certain political faction, as well as the ballot-counting process), the Committee for ‎Defense of Free, Healthy and Fair Elections deems the second round of Majlis elections ‎not free, unfair and corrupt, and in line with the trend set with the irregularities as well as ‎unfair and corrupt processes in the first round.” ‎

The statement adds, “The second round of elections followed the corrupt, unfair and un-‎free trend of the previous round. Politicians, administrators and specially the supervisors ‎of the aforementioned elections completed this process by ignoring and failing to provide ‎reasonable and convincing responses to protests and calls by certain candidates and ‎parties to recount votes and provide accurate information and data from each ballot box ‎‎(including the number of cast and valid ballots, and number of ballots cast for each ‎individual candidate in the first and second rounds).” ‎

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