Khatami Appeals to Iranians to Vote
February 16, 2004
TEHRAN -- President Mohammad Khatami has appealed to Iranians to vote in this week's parliamentary election to prevent a minority of hardliners seizing control of the country's future due to public apathy.
In a written address to the nation on Monday, Khatami said the disqualification of some 2,500 mainly reformist candidates by a hardline clerical council had been unjust but should not deter voters.
"Even though at one stage there was some unfairness against parliamentarians and other qualified candidates, if people don't turn out it will open the way for a minority to control the fate of the country," the president said in a statement published by the official IRNA news agency.
The unelected Guardian Council, a 12-member panel dominated by Islamic hardliners, barred nearly one in three contenders from entering Friday's poll, including some 80 sitting lawmakers, among them Khatami's younger brother, Mohammad Reza.
That prompted the biggest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, to boycott the vote.
But the president said people should not turn their backs on democracy out of disillusionment, but should use their ballots, if not to elect their favourite candidates, then at least to bar the way to those they most disliked.
"Surely there are many people who feel that in many constituencies, they don't have their favourite candidates, but they can choose the ones who have ideas which are closest to theirs," he said.
Many reformists say the mass disqualification was a blatant power grab by conservatives who lost control of parliament in 2000, when reformers won about 200 of the 290 seats.
Political scientists forecast a low turnout, especially in the big cities which were the reformers' bastions.
In a veiled reference to fears of fraud to inflate the turnout, Khatami urged election officials to "be very vigilant and careful to ensure a healthy election and safeguard people's votes".
DoctorZin Note: The Iranian people can now see with absolute clarity whose side Khatami is on. It is not the peoples side he supports but the ruling Mullahs.
He has even betrayed his own brother (a member of the Parliament and head of the "reformist" party).
Europe now has a serious problem. How do the leaders of Europe convince their people that they need to support the terror masters instead of the people of Iran?
posted on 02/16/2004 12:07:41 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
He takes the side of the reformers and even threatens to quit. Now he's doing exactly what the reformers don't want; urging people to vote.
He's Khamenei's puppet.
posted on 02/16/2004 12:29:39 PM PST
("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
Iran's "unfree" elections get underway
16/02/2004 - 04:00
Campaigning started yesterday for Iran's parliamentary elections, despite calls for a postponement after 2,300 'liberal' candidates were banned from participating by the ruling Guardian Council.
About 5,000 candidates will vie for 290 seats in the Majlis, or Parliament. They have until midnight on Wednesday to make their pitch to Iran's 46.3 million voters.
Elections will be held on February 20th.
Some 80 sitting MPs are on the 'black list' of rejected candidates. The Interior Ministry says 607 approved candidates decided not to stand as of Saturday.
The main reformist coalition - Reformist Coalition for Iran (RCI) - was decidedly despondent yesterday after many of its candidates were disqualified.
Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour of the RCI said his party would be a 'minority' in parliament.
A leading Iranian dissident - imprisoned academic Hashem Aghajari - has launched a scathing attack on the country's right-wing clerical establishment.
In an open letter, Mr Aghajari said reform was at an end and urged Iranians to passively resist hard line clerics.
Mr Aghajari said the election was 'unfree'.
He rebuked reformist president Mohammad Khatami for lacking the political 'will and courage' to foster lasting change in the country.
And the student organisation Office to Consolidate Unity has issued a statement criticising the president and urging voters to boycott the election. http://www.dehavilland.co.uk/webhost.asp?wci=default&wcp=NationalNewsStoryPage&ItemID=2007280&ServiceID=8&filterid=10&searchid=8
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