My God. I almost choked when I read in today’s NZ Herald editorial the following:
Iran has fairly freely elected an Islamist government
Maybe in an alternate reality. The editorial writer seems to mistake the fact Iran actually does count the votes (unlike Iraq which used to merely shoot those who did not vote) as constituting fair and free elections.
Do I even need to spell out how wrong that statement is? Yeah why not:
* The head of state has supreme power and is appointed by a body (Assembly of Experts) of 86 clerics
* Presidential candidates have to be approved by the Council of Guardians
* Parliamentary candidates need to be approved by the Council
* Candidates for the Assembly of Experts need to be approved by the Council
* The Council of Guardians is effectively appointed by the Supreme Leader
In 2004 80 incumbent MPs were banned from restanding for Parliament as were around 50% of all candidates. There were numerous complaints of election fraud and improper use of the state to pressure voters.
And shall we talk about the lack of a free press and how some reformists newspapers were banned just prior to the last elections!
If this is what the NZ Herald editorial writer considers free and fair elections I’d hate to see their version of one which isn’t.