Tuesday, December 14, 2004

No age limit for presidential candidates

Description of Selected News: "No age limit for presidential candidates


TEHRAN (AFP) -- Iran's conservatives have scrapped plans to introduce an age limit of 70 years for presidential candidates, a move that would have blocked a possible comeback by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the student news agency ISNA said Tuesday.

"To avoid any partisan exploitation and prejudice against potential candidates, we have decided to suppress the age condition for candidates to the presidential election," it quoted MP Reza Talai-Nik as saying.

According to the MP, a draft law had envisaged limiting candidates to those aged between 35 and 75, which he said would have "aimed at no potential candidate".

Iranian newspapers had said the draft, prepared by MPs belonging to two conservative groups, proposed a ceiling of 70 years, which would have eliminated Rafsanjani who celebrates his 71st birthday next year when the election is to be held. Last October, Talai-Nik was quoted as saying: "The current law only states that Iranians over the age of 30 can be a candidate, but does not provide an upper age limit. We would like to correct that."

Rafsanjani, seen as a pragmatic conservative, has been openly mulling standing in next June's polls.

He served two terms as president from 1989 to 1997, and is allowed to stand for a third because the law only bars presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms.

The charismatic cleric at present heads Iran's top political arbitration body, the Expediency Council.

"I would rather someone else enter the presidential race, but if society as well as prominent pundits conclude that I can fulfill this task better, I will announce my readiness," Rafsanjani said last month."