Rouhani sounds alarm for ‘democ­racy, sovereignt­y’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Tehran, Iran - Iran’s Pres­i­dent warned on Mon­day of threats to the Is­lamic repub­lic’s ‘democ­racy and na­tional sovereignt­y’, af­ter a body dom­i­nated by his ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive ri­vals dis­qual­i­fied thou­sands of can­di­dates, weeks be­fore elec­tions.

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani’s mod­er­ate con­ser­va­tives and their re­formist al­lies are locked in a pub­lic quar­rel with the Guardian Coun­cil over the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of thou­sands of can­di­dates - in­clud­ing 92 sit­ting MPs.

The coun­cil, which over­sees Iran’s elec­tions, says it has barred some 9,500 po­ten­tial can­di­dates from stand­ing, al­most two thirds of the 14,500 hope­fuls.

Rouhani, whose al­liance fears los­ing its ma­jor­ity in the Fe­bru­ary 21 polls, said the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tions risked ap­point­ments be­ing made ‘else­where’ than the bal­lot box.

“The great­est dan­ger for democ­racy and na­tional sovereignt­y is the day when elec­tions be­come a for­mal­ity,” the gov­ern­ment’s web­site quoted Rouhani as say­ing in a meet­ing with provin­cial gov­er­nors.

“May God never bring this day,” he added.

“Let us re­as­sure the peo­ple and tell them our sys­tem is not a sin­gle-party sys­tem.”

In an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to ul­tra-con­ser­va­tives, he said, “They should at least let there be com­pe­ti­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

He called on Ira­ni­ans of all stripes to vote, ‘even if... there are short­com­ings in elec­tions’.

“Some­time I may not want to vote for some rea­son, but some other time I may not have enough trust to go to the bal­lot box; this is very dan­ger­ous,” he said.

Can­di­dates who are dis­qual­i­fied are al­lowed to ap­peal be­fore the elec­tions.

The polls come af­ter a trau­matic month for Iran, in which it ap­proached the brink of war with the United States and mis­tak­enly shot down a pas­sen­ger jet.

(AFP)

Iran Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani speaks dur­ing the gov­er­nors’ con­fer­ence in the cap­i­tal Tehran on Mon­day

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