MPs reject screen-candidates bill
Thursday, August 12, 1999
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The Iranian parliament rejected
a bill that would have relaxed the screening of candidates for next year's
legislative elections, the Tehran Times reported Thursday.
Moderates in parliament wanted the Guardians Council, which acts as
an upper house of parliament and oversees elections, to ease its screening
The council has the power to disqualify any candidate. It is dominated
by conservatives who oppose President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate who
has relaxed media restrictions and strict Islamic rules since taking office
In October 1998, the council disqualified 214 candidates out of 400
for election to the 86-member Assembly of Experts. The rejected candidates
were Khatami supporters.
The bill to relax the council's control was presented by moderates.
But hard-line legislators hold the majority in the assembly. The bill was
voted down by a 116-60 vote with 14 abstentions, said the Tehran Times,
which was received in Dubai.
Moderates and hard-liners have already begun preparing for the February
polls, which are seen as the next showdown between the two camps.
Khatami needs the support of the 270-seat parliament, or Majlis, to
speed up his reforms. The hard-line clergy, which accuses Khatami of betraying
the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution, is determined to thwart his