Iranian hard-liners accuse Rouhani of voter fraud, interference

WINNER AND LOSER: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, and defeated presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, Files)
Updated 29 May 2017
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Iranian hard-liners accuse Rouhani of voter fraud, interference

Defeated hard-line candidate Ebrahim Raisi has complained of voter fraud in Iran’s presidential election and called on the judiciary and the election watchdog to investigate, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Monday.
The allegations, likely to stoke up Raisi’s conservative supporters, were among his strongest since losing the bitterly contested May 19 vote to incumbent Hassan Rouhani by a margin of 57 percent to 38.
Indignant at Rouhani’s re-election, hard-liners have vowed to press their conservative agenda. The head of the judiciary on Monday separately criticized Rouhani’s campaign promises to work for the release of two opposition leaders under house arrest.
“Tampering with the numbers of people’s participation is inappropriate. Not sending ballots to centers where the government’s opponent has a chance of getting votes is very inappropriate,” Raisi was quoted as saying.
“I ask the Guardian Council and the judiciary not to let the people’s rights get trampled. If this vote-tampering is not looked into, then the people’s trust will be damaged.”
The Guardian Council is a government body that vets candidates and supervises elections in Iran. It has already approved the results.
But Raisi’s comments were a signal that he and his supporters will continue to put up a fight against Rouhani, who won on promises to increase social freedom, improve human rights and open up the Islamic Republic to Western investment.
His pledges included freeing former presidential challengers Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, along with Mousavi’s wife, who have been under house arrest since 2011 after calling for protests in solidarity with pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East.
“Who are you to break the house arrests?” Larijani said, according to Mizan, the judiciary’s news site.
Larijani said it was for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council to take an initial decision on the detention of the opposition leaders, after which the judiciary would take over.
During the campaign, Rouhani and Raisi exchanged barbs in debates and speeches using language rarely heard in politics in Iran. Rouhani accused Raisi of abuses while at the judiciary, and was in turn accused of corruption and economic mismanagement. Each denied the other’s accusations.
Raisi, a cleric who served on the judiciary for many years, made his allegations of voter fraud to a gathering of supporters on Sunday night, Fars said. He was also quoted as saying Rouhani had inappropriately used TV, newspapers and government offices for campaign purposes.


Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

Updated 21 October 2018
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Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

  • Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister
  • All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political blocs in the ruling coalition

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is putting the finishing touches to his first cabinet and will submit the names to parliament for approval in the next two days.

All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political blocs in the ruling coalition, and none is a current or former member of parliament, leading party negotiators told Arab News on Sunday.

The Shiite coalition was formed last month after lengthy negotiations following parliamentary elections in May. It comprises the Reform alliance sponsored by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, and the Iranian backed Al-Binna’a led by Hadi Al-Amiri, commander of the Badr Organization, the most powerful Shiite armed faction.

Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister. Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and minorities must all be represented, under Iraq’s constitution. In addition, an unwritten rule requires that ministerial posts and high government positions be filled according to the distribution of parliamentary seats.

Negotiators told Arab News that Abdul Mahdi’s ministers for oil, transport, health, electricity, higher education and water will come from the Reform alliance; ministers for the interior, foreign affairs, communication, housing and construction, and labor and industry will be from Al-Binna’a; Sunnis will be ministers for defense, planning, trade, education, agriculture and youth; and the ministers of finance, justice and immigration will be Kurds. 

“The final names have not been revealed yet,” a Reform negotiator told Arab News. “We presented four names for each post and we are waiting for Abdul Mahdi to present his final list on Monday.”

The coalition will support Abdul Mahdi for one year. “The veto imposed by Sadr and Amiri on any current or former parliamentarians to be a minister has embarrassed everyone and pushed them to change their plans,” an Al-Binna’a negotiator said.

“A year is enough to see if Abdul Mahdi has formed a harmonious team and whether his team will succeed, so it’s fair enough for all parties.”