Government to Propose Comprehensive Election Bill

Government to Propose Comprehensive Election Bill

A senior Interior Ministry official said the government is expected to present a draft bill consolidating election rules to the Majlis by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2018).
Speaking to ICANA in a recent talk, Deputy Interior Minister for Political Affairs Ismail Jabbarzadeh added that the draft is being finalized by the ministry's experts and will be sent to the Cabinet's Political and Defense Committee for review in the coming weeks.
The governmental committee comprises the interior minister, foreign minister, defense minister, intelligence minister and the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
"After its approval, it will be presented to the Cabinet for endorsement and would then be submitted to parliament," he said.
Outlining some of the changes incorporated in the draft, Jabbarzadeh said the bill has integrated various rules and articles related to presidential, parliamentary, Assembly of Experts and city council elections, reforming the procedures of conducting elections to address complaints raised by election officials and government bodies.
The bill specifically defines the responsibilities of various bodies involved in all aspects of elections and removes ambiguities regarding the process of vetting candidates.
The Interior Ministry is the organizer of all Iranian elections and the Guardians Council is in charge of screening candidates' qualifications and supervising the votes, except the city council elections that are overseen by a special parliamentary board.
The council's oversight in recent elections, particularly its disqualification of some reformist figures, has sparked criticisms over the vetting process.
The draft also specifies how the candidates will be monitored and their violations will be addressed.
According to the draft, a special committee would be established for addressing violations by candidates, regulating publicity campaigns and monitoring campaign spending.
The draft demands that candidates clarify the financing of their election campaigns, as part of efforts to prevent dirty money from entering the electoral races.
Under the draft, measures will be taken to pave the way for competent people to enter the election scene, such as providing candidates with financial assistance for campaigns.
To ensure fairness to all candidates, the draft will increase the role of parties and take into account the managerial experience of candidates in the vetting process.
Reducing the cost of elections is another objective of the bill.
The time allocated to reviewing credentials of candidates and holding publicity campaigns is expected to be increased.
Based on the bill, eligible people who want to cast their votes should sign up before an election.
The bill was to become law before the presidential and city council elections held in May, but government officials announced in December the bill could not be sent to Majlis in time, so it was shelved at the time.
The bill has been prepared within the framework of the 18-article general election policies outlined in October 2016 by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in consultation with the Expediency Council.


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