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“The Coalition of Iranian Women’s Statement of Electoral Demands†– Statement No. 2

We ask that the affirmed candidates object to the dismissal of the female candidates for presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Tuesday 26 May 2009, by admin

Feminist School :On May 20th 2009, the Iran Guardian Council announced which candidates of those who had declared their candidature were permitted to stand. Of the 471 individuals listed as candidates for president, only four have been approved. Of the 42 women who had stepped forward, including Zhila Movahhed Shariat-Panahi and Rafat Bayat, not a single one has been approved as a presidential candidate.

Today, thanks to the presence in the election campaign of the independent and dynamic front of groups and activists from the women’s movement, who have managed to impose themselves in this traditionally male sphere, a number of the presidential candidates have more or less included the demands of women in their statements and declarations and in their election manifestos. There is no doubt that such a move on the part of these candidates should be welcomed by the “Women’s Movement Coalition†. Nonetheless, what is important is that we scrutinize carefully how and with what methods these candidates intend to implement women’s demands, in the event of their taking power after the elections.

The action of the Guardian Council in eliminating all female candidates from the presidential elections is without doubt the continuation of a policy of excluding women from participation in public affairs. Until the present time, the Guardian Council has demonstrated that it has been opposed to the presence and participation of women in society and to gender equality and justice for women and men. To this end, not only did the Guardian Council oppose the adherence of Iran to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) even after its ratification by the sixth parliament, but it has also ruled that certain laws passed by the parliament in the interests of women are either not in conformity with Islam or contravene the constitution.

Nonetheless, while registering the opinions and declarations of the presidential candidates in support of women’s demands, we insist that what is of special importance is the way in which these demands are defended against various governmental institutions, including the Guardian Council.

Among the demands of the “Women’s Movement Coalition†is the reform of a number of articles of the constitution, including article 115 which specifies that candidates for the presidency must be “statesmen†, and which until the present time has been interpreted in such a way that women have not been approved as candidates.

Given the elimination of all female candidates from the presidential elections, it is now time that those candidates who have been confirmed and who have expressed their support for the implementation of women’s rights, demonstrate whether they are prepared to reconsider article 115 in support of the realization of the rights of women, as one half of society.

We therefore request that the confirmed candidates consider the rejection of female candidates in a transparent and definitive manner, and noting the promises already given to women, we pose the following question.

Are you prepared to begin an immediate campaign against the action of the Guardian Council in rejecting the candidacy of women, making use of the forums available to you and of the media in order to make a public protest against the decision of the Guardian Council, and to request the Guardian Council to seriously reconsider the eligibility of these female candidates?

There is no doubt that the manner of the protest of the confirmed presidential candidates against this unjust action on the part of the Guardian Council can be considered one of the criteria by which we will evaluate the promises which the candidates have made to women up until the present time.

In this respect we declare to the candidates that if they fail to take action against the principle obstacle to the presence and participation of women and to their equal rights, there remains no doubt that when in the future they attain the office of president, they will face numerous further obstacles in addressing women’s demands and will very likely find no practical means to realize these demands.

The Coalition of Iranian Women’s Movement Stating Electoral Demands

Public Relations Committee

“The Coalition of Iranian Women’s Statement of Electoral Demands†– Statement No. 1

(Translated by the Women’s Coalition translation team)

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