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Powerful Iran body works on new elections law.

Summary: A powerful Iranian legislative body is drafting a new vote law in an attempt to avoid violence in future elections, but conservative hardliners warned the legislation would likely usher in a new era

A powerful Iranian legislative body is drafting a new vote law in an attempt to avoid violence in future elections, but conservative hardliners warned the legislation would likely usher in a new era of political unrest, Al Arabiya TV reported late on Sunday.

The Expediency Council, presided by former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, aims to annul the condition on all presidential candidates to be committed to the absolute power of the supreme leader. Rafsanjani prepares the draft legislation in coordination with Hassan Rowhani, the representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei at the Supreme National Security Council, and Mohsen Rezaee, Secretary of the Expediency Council and former Chief Commander of the Revolutionary Guard.

Reformists hope that the law, if passed, would somehow open the political environment by cutting down the powers of the Guardian Council, which exercises full control on both presidential and legislative elections in the country.

The Guardian Council is in charge of approving presidential nominees and candidates to the Assembly of Experts and the parliament. It is also the body that interprets the constitution as well as Islamic laws.

But conservative hardliners h have warned the legislation could pave the way for renewed political crisis and social unrest.

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan, one of the most influential newspapers in Iran, lashed out at the draft law and said the supreme leader would likely reject it, especially since it diminishes the influence of the Experts Council and gives more power to the Expediency Council in upcoming elections.

Reformists, including Rafsanjani and Rezaee, blamed the Assembly of Experts for the political unrest that swept the country in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential elections, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a second term in office.

Last June, the Assembly of Experts expressed its support for the Supreme Leader without conducting an evaluation of his performance as the rules of the assembly stipulate. The reading of the support statement was reportedly interrupted by Rafsanjani.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid and edited by Mustapha Ajbaili).

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Feb 21, 2010
Words:378
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