Iran pares election roster in favor of hard-liners

Al-Monitor | Iran’s powerful Guardian Council has purged many Reformists from the ranks of would-be candidates for the fast-approaching parliamentary elections, including many incumbents.

The council, controlled by hard-liners, vets hopefuls in all Iranian elections with the exception of city and village council polls. Its strict qualification procedures for the Feb. 21 vote have seen 90 current legislators sent out of the game, not to mention thousands of first-timers. Council spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaee cited “multiple grounds” on which candidates had been rejected, including alleged corruption, embezzlement, drug use or dealing and a bevy of other possible convictions and misconduct.

The widespread purge even prompted President Hassan Rouhani to strike out at the council.

“People favor political pluralism in elections,” Rouhani said during a televised Cabinet meeting Jan. 15. “We cannot simply announce that 1,700 candidates have been approved and ignore the question of how many political groups those people represent. That’s not what an election is about.”

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