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Comparative Study of Election Systems

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Author: Dr. Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh
Executive Editor of Iran Review

Published By: Tehran International Studies and Research Institute (TISRI), 2009

Active ImageElections are among the most important indicators of democratic and healthy societies. However, a wholesome and flawless election system is, per se, more important than election itself.

Iran has a long record in holding public elections the first instance of which was held following the triumph of the Constitutional Revolution in October 1906 and the first term of the National Consultative Assembly was inaugurated on October 6, 1906. Election has been also a major mechanism for the realization of people’s right to self-determination following victory of the Islamic Revolution and, on average; an election has been held every year during the past three decades. Up to 1998, only the president, members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and members of the Assembly of Experts were held through public elections after which elections for rural and urban councils were also added.

No overarching study has been yet carried out on weaknesses and strengths of Iran’s election system by comparison to other election systems.

The present book studies various election systems, supervisory mechanisms used to monitor elections, executive structures and processes related to elections, election hustings, as well as rights and qualifications of both voters and candidates under various democratic systems. The findings have been then used to propose ways for reinforcing strengths and eliminating possible weaknesses of the election system under the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Due to special importance of presidential and parliamentary elections in determining political configuration of a country, they have been special focus of the present study and other kinds of election have not been considered here.

The material has been arranged in two parts. The first part is about election systems in the United States, France, Turkey, India and Malaysia as model countries.

In the second part, Iran’s election regulations have been compared to election laws in those countries. In order for the comparison to be exhaustive, experiences and achievements of all elections held in Iran during the past 30 years have been taken onboard and critical analysis has been made of the new election bill which has been proposed to the Cabinet by the Ministry of Interior in August 2009. In conclusion, a few strategies and proposals have been offered with regard to the following issues:

1. The necessity for formulating a comprehensive election system in Iran;
2. The need to have an independent “High Elections Council” in the Islamic Republic of Iran;
3. Conditions for registration of candidates;
4. Qualifications of candidates and vetting process;
5. Publicity and election campaigns;
6. Voting process and vote count;
7. Hearing complaints.

Table of Contents:

- Introduction

- Part I: Study of Election systems in five model countries

o Chapter 1: Elections in the United States
o Chapter 2: Elections in Turkey
o Chapter 3: Elections in India
o Chapter 4: Elections in Malaysia

- Part II: Comparison of Election Laws in Five Model Countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran

- Conclusion and Proposals

- Bibliography

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