Iranians protesting political exclusion and electoral fraud
Iran is facing new presidential elections June 14th. Only eight candidates were approved to run for the presidential post, from a total of 686 registered candidates. Iran’s electoral regulations strictly limit who can actually run on the presidential elections. Candidates need to be by the Guardian Council in order to qualify for the elections. This regulation led to a decline in the percentage of the qualified candidates since the Islamic Republic consolidated itself, bringing in stricter regulations for the candidates.The Council acts as a filtering device in the selection process, which actually limits the democratic nature of the elections, given that candidates do not need popular qualification or support to run on the elections, but simply qualification from the Guardian Council. The Council was given an official mandate to prevent certain candidates from running on the elections in 1991. Council qualification does not necessarily reflect the wish of the Iranian people, as their decision is probably not made according to the same principles that would serve as a basis for public support for a candidate.
The council is not compelled to give an explanation of its decision to ban someone from participating in the presidential elections, but it is assumed that the major basis of disqualification is an alleged lack of loyalty to the Islamic Republic (basically making it impossible to achieve any kind of regime change), disrespect of the constitution or disregard of the principle of the rule of the jurisconsult (vilayat-e faqih). Other reasons for disqualification are corruption, inadequate ethical standards and reformist activities. Moreover, women are banned from running on the presidential elections, even though they can actually register – but will never be approved.
The basis for gender-based limitation is the terminology used in the Constitution, describing the candidates to be arajol siyasi, meaning political personality. The Council however interprets this as meaning only males, while rights activists and female politicians strictly object.
Iran’s electoral regulations allowed only eight male candidates to run on the presidential elections the 14 June 2014. Debates are currently running to boost public support, and political warring is gaining momentum as well, involving current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his predecessor Rafsanjani, attacked by Ahmadinejad.