Monday, November 22, 2004

Struggle in Iran over election date, counting process

Struggle in Iran over election date, counting process: "Struggle in Iran over election date, counting process

TEHRAN (dpa) - The date and counting process for the presidential elections have led to a struggle in Iran between reformists and conservative clergy, the students' news agency ISNA reported Tuesday.
While the interior ministry wants the elections to be held on May 13, the senate-like Guardian Council has called for presidential elections to be postponed.

The Guardian Council, which is in charge of election matters, said May 13 was too early, with regard not only to the election law but also to the end of President Mohammad Khatami's term on August 2.

This view, however, was "simply wrong", Interior Minister Mussavi Lari said. "The law says a minimum, not a maximum, of three months were needed before the end of the president's term," he added.

The minister said that in May all school and university exams are over and everybody can concentrate on the elections. The council however proposed holding the elections around one month later.

Also on the counting process, the reformist interior ministry has differences with the clergy in the Guardian Council.

"We have always suggested a computerised counting system like in the rest of the world, but the gentlemen have always rejected this just before the election date and opted again for manual counting," Lari said.

According to the constitution, reformist President Khatami cannot run for a third term."