2021-June-18 10:36
Politics
2021-June-10  20:19

Iran to Increase Polling Stations, Voting Hours for Presidential Elections

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said that the number of polling stations and voting hours will increase for people to participate in the June 18 presidential elections to be serve health protocols and social distancing rules.

Today, a joint meeting was held between Iran's Election Office and the central executive apparatus so as to review reports and comments over the 2021 Iran presidential election, Rahmani Fazli told reporters on Wednesday.

Regarding the security issues of the election process and its necessary measures, a comprehensive report was submitted in this meeting, he said, adding, “Based on continuous observance, we will not face any special security issue during the election in the current situation."

Rahmani Fazli also referred to measures related to observing health protocols, saying that in order to observe health protocols and social distance measures, it was decided that the number of poll stations and the voting hours will be increased.

All agents in poll stations must have a certificate of negative test so as not to spread the virus, the official added.

The Iranian interior ministry on May 25 declared the names of 7 hopefuls qualified by Iran’s vetting body, the Guardian Council, to run in the presidential race.

The 7 approved candidates include Iran’s Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi, Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezayee, Iranian reformist politician and former Governor of Isfahan Province Mohsen Mehr Alizadeh, former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Saeed Jalili, Iranian Member of the Parliament Alireza Zakani, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati and Parliament’s Vice-Speaker Seyed Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi.

The disapproved candidates had the opportunity to protest at their disqualification vote and the qualified candidates can start their campaign as of May 25 until 24 hours before elections.

Several candidates, including former Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan and former Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, dropped out of the race in Rayeesi’s favor before the Guardian Council declared its decision on their qualification.

Rayeesi is known to be the favorite pick in this election after he gathered fame in systematic aide to the poor when he headed the Shiite Islam's 8th Imam, Hazrat Ali Ibn-e Moussa's endowment Institution, and then in fighting corruption during his present career as the Judiciary Chief. He was facing mounting calls by his supporters and associated political figures to join the 2021 presidential race, with a top body of Principlists now backing him as their top choice but he has declared himself as an independent candidate.

He served as attorney general from 2014 to 2016, and was deputy Judiciary chief from 2004 to 2014. He was also prosecutor and deputy prosecutor of Tehran in the 1980s and 90s.

Rayeesi became a household name in Iran in 2017 when he ran as a Principlist candidate in the presidential election. He lost the vote to Rouhani.

As the Judiciary chief, Rayeesi has launched a widespread anti-corruption campaign. He drew up laws to protect women against domestic violence.

The Constitutional Council — also known as the Guardian Council — is a body of Islamic and legal jurists that acts in many ways as a Supreme Court.

Half of the body’s 12 members are legal jurists. They are nominated by the head of the Iranian Parliament and put to the vote of the Parliament, while the rest are specialists in Islamic law, and are appointed by the country’s highest-ranking authority, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Membership in the Council is for phased six-year terms, which means half the membership changes every three years at random.

The Council affirms or rejects any interpretation of the law made in bills passed by parliament. The members sitting on the Council vet the compatibility of the legislation with the Constitution and its Islamic basis.

Any legislation rejected by the Council will be passed back to the Parliament, which will have to rewrite the proposed bill if it wants it to proceed with it. Disagreements between the two bodies are referred to the Expediency Council for a final decision.

Another one of the Council’s tasks is to supervise elections. All candidates standing for election and those for the Assembly of Experts — another supreme body — must secure the Constitutional Council’s approval before they can join the race.

Iran will simultaneously hold the 13th presidential election and the 6th City and Village Councils Elections on June 18.

The election in which voters will pick a president for a four-year term will be held as the country is still grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As stipulated in the Constitution, the President is elected for a four-year term by direct vote, and is allowed only two successive terms, although he can run for a third nonconsecutive term.

To run for president, a candidate must satisfy six key qualifications outlined in the Constitution, namely being an Iranian national and of Iranian origin, having “administrative capacity and resourcefulness” besides a good past record and the qualities of trustworthiness and piety. The President must also have a firm belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Islam, the official religion of the country.

Hopefuls need the approval of the Constitutional Council — a panel of six theologians and six legal experts — for running in presidential elections.

Presidents are elected with a majority of the vote. If no candidate manages to secure the threshold in the first round, a run-off is held between the two candidates that have received the most votes in the first round.

Under Article 113 of the Iranian Constitution, the President acts as the country’s chief executive and is responsible for implementing the law of the land “except in matters directly concerned with the office of the Leadership.”

Within the limits of his powers and duties, the President is responsible before “the people, the Leader, and the Islamic Consultative Assembly,” as the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) is formally called.

The President appoints ministers, subject to the approval of the Parliament.

The chief executive has the authority to sign agreements with other governments as well as those pertaining to international organizations, after securing parliamentary approval.

Ambassadors to other countries are also appointed upon the recommendation of the Foreign Minister and approval of the President, who also receives the credentials presented by the ambassadors of foreign countries.

The President is tasked with administering national planning, the budget, and state employment affairs.

In addition, he heads the Supreme National Security Council, which protects and supports national interests, the Islamic Revolution, and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Meanwhile, the President serves as the chairman of Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, a body set up after the 1979 Revolution to ensure the country’s education and culture remain Islamic and will not be influenced by other cultures and ideologies.