Bill for Candidacy of the Blind in Majlis

Bill for Candidacy of the Blind in MajlisBill for Candidacy of the Blind in Majlis

A single-urgency bill is under consideration in parliament that calls for the candidacy of blind people in legislative elections, ICANA reported Sunday.

“Use of gadgets and sophisticated technology can enable the visually challenged to properly perform their tasks as lawmakers,” said Fatemeh Alia, who is head of a parliamentary faction supporting the disabled.

An amendment to Clause 6 of Article 28 of the Islamic Republic Election Law addressing the issue was on last year’s agenda of Majlis. However, it failed to garner enough votes to become law.

One key argument among opponents at the time was that the proposal was premature and came  long before the next Majlis election (slated for Feb. 25, 2016), and therefore was rather irrelevant, the parliament news agency said.

In addition, many MPs were not familiar with modern technology that assists the visually-impaired with alternative options. They opined that ability of MPs to perform would be affected by their disability and that such duties cannot be delegated.

Noting that the situation is satisfactory in the new Iranian calendar year (began March 21) and offers an opportunity to again table the amendment, Alia said “several other amendments to the election law have been presented to the Majlis as less than a year remains before the parliamentary polls.” She did not elaborate.

According to Alia, assistive technology for the visually challenged has been introduced to the majority of the MPs and they support a role and involvement of the disabled in the highest law-making institution in the country. For instance, a 3 percent quota was allocated for the disabled in the Majlis staff employment tests.

“The single-urgency bill will be proposed to the Majlis this year and is expected to pass with a majority clearing the way for the visually impaired to contest seats” in the 290-member chamber, the woman parliamentarian was quoted as saying.