Interior Ministry Favors Partisan Elections

Interior Ministry Favors Partisan ElectionsInterior Ministry Favors Partisan Elections

An Interior Ministry official said the draft of an amended version of the election law is in the making, which will prepare the ground for partisan elections. Mohammad Hossein Moqimi, deputy interior minister for political affairs, made the statement in an interview with IRNA on Sunday.

"In the draft, we seek to increase the role of political parties in elections as much as possible," he said. "We should move toward partisan elections."

Moqimi also said other complaints raised by election officials and government bodies about the election law have also been addressed in the amended version, including regulations on election campaigns and their finance.

The official said there have been longstanding concerns about campaign spending by candidates and the possibility of vote-selling, so the new law aims to prevent funding campaigns by "dirty money".

"The law will clarify how much money candidates can spend on their campaigns and require them to identify the source of their funds."

Moqimi said the period allocated to reviewing credentials of candidates is also too short.

"In the amended law, that period will increase from 7 days to 20," he said.

The Guardians Council is in charge of vetting candidates and supervising elections and the Interior Ministry is tasked with organizing the polls.


  Electronic Polling on Agenda

Moqimi said the ministry is in contact with the Guardians Council to remove obstacles to electronic elections and solve problems that prevented the replacement of ballot boxes with voting machines in the recent Majlis elections.

"Our experts and GC representatives are now checking the software for the voting machines," he said. "Its problems are now solved and I think we are close to what the council wants."

The two rounds of Majlis elections in February and April were to be held electronically in one-third of the polling stations across the country, but legal and security problems prevented it.

In January, then Guardians Council spokesman, Nejatollah Ebrahimian, said the 12-member body had decided to cancel the plan because the parliament had failed to prepare the required legal framework and there were also security concerns about electronic machines.

E-voting helps minimize the possibility of irregularities and accelerate the process of counting ballots. Besides, it reduces the cost of holding elections. Moqimi said since the Majlis has now resolved legal issues, he is optimistic that the presidential election in May 2017 will be held electronically. The official said efforts to fix flaws in the election law started right after the Majlis elections and the Interior Ministry is working quickly to repair the snags.

"The draft will soon be presented to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, and after his endorsement, the government should give the final approval," he said.  After the government's consent, the draft will be sent to parliament as a bill.

"We are doing our best to have the amended law implemented by the yearend," he said.