“Politically speaking, participating in [the upcoming] elections means feeling a sense of responsibility for the future of Iran,” Kadkhodaei said on Saturday addressing a virtual meeting of the Union of Islamic Students' Association in Europe.
He added that if we lack that sense of responsibility and do not turn out at polling stations on Election Day, it means we are indifferent to the future of our country.
Constitutional Council follows rule of law
Kadkhodaei further referred to the process of qualification of candidates, saying this process in Iran is based on law and the Constitutional Council only follows the rule of law.
“The Constitutional Council has a neutral stance and sticks only to the rule of law,” he stressed.
Kadkhodaei also said that based on electoral law in Iran, the reasons behind disqualification of candidates should be only announced to the candidates and we are not allowed to announce it publicly.
Overseas students urged to help with observing elections
He also invited all the Iranian students studying abroad to cooperate with officials responsible for holding elections in foreign countries and help them with observing and organizing the elections.
Constitutional Council does not accrue party benefits
Elsewhere in his remarks, Kadkhodaei said Iran’s Constitutional Council does not consider individuals’ chances of getting elected.
“The Constitutional Council does not accrue party benefits; it’s neutral like an arbiter. And since we’re not a party, we cannot consider the candidates’ electability in assessing them,” Kadkhodaei said.
In many societies, he said, a regulatory process is defined within the party system, by which candidates are vetted and named and would go on to vie on the national and federal level. In Iran, however, such a party system does not exist, and the Constitutional Council comes into play, the spokesman said.
The Iranian official, a professor of international law, said that if parties in Iran energized, the Council may decide not to get so directly involved and some of the vetting may be delegated to the parties themselves.
“If a strong party system exists, and candidates go through… party ranks and [then] enter the election, it will be possible to hold parties and individuals to account,” he said.
Health protocols of paramount importance to Constitutional Council
In response to the question of whether Iranians would be able to vote by mail, Kadkhodaei said the law does not envision such voting, but added that certain measures will be taken to observe health protocols in the upcoming presidential election, such as setting up more polling stations to avoid overcrowding and setting them up outdoors.
Iran’s 13th presidential election is slated for June 18, 2021. The sixth local councils’ elections will be also held on the same day.
Candidates hoping to run in the next elections are to apply in early April for approval. The final list is to be announced by the Constitutional Council in early June.
The Constitutional Council is a constitutionally mandated 12-member council in Iran that, among other things, is tasked with ensuring the compatibility of the legislation passed by the parliament with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution.