Intro to Discussion About Proposed Future Constitution
The following are my introductory notes on Oct 30, 2003 on Jebhe BB Thread about the future constitution model proposed by Mr. Ardeshir Dolat.
The following is the link to a proposed constitution model for democratic republic of Iran written by Mr. Ardeshir Dolat. I posted this document once before and only one comment was posted in response:
This is a very serious discussion and I hope that those who do not see it of any value just ignore this thread rather than distracting this important discussion.
I think this is a great effort that Mr. Dolat has done and I will try my best to participate in this discussion. I am glad that Mr. Dolat has also accepted my request to visit this board for this discussion.
Here are some of my comments to start:
1. On item#17, it says God has given life and thus nobody has a right to take the life of another. I actually am against capital punishment too, but I would write this same concept differently that "society has not given life so society has no right to take it away". In other words, I see punishments like imprisonment by society legitimate as actions to take away a *social right*, whereas I do not see life and death as a *social* right for courts to decide on behalf of society. Therefore I do not need to argue this point using God, which has a variety of interpretations and can mean the Islamic God, etc. So I do not see any need of mentioning God to call for what this item calls for, which I agree with.
2. On Item#21. It says parties are allowed as long as they do not breach any of the principles of constitution. What if a party breaches some principles of constitution? Is it needed to have the criteria of breaching all principles? I wonder if some principles should be singled out as unbreakable for a party to be legal and other principles not to carry such weight? The way this item is written now does not seem OK to me although I understand that if a party supports killing mortads or stoning adulterers, it should not be allowed to run for the state. I am not sure how to write this into the constitution in a proper way.
3. On Item#40. It says state can invest in any sector of the economy. I would like to emphasize on how to stop the state monopoly in various sectors especially oil. The main problem in Iran is that state already can invest anywhere it wants and laws to limit state ownership in mass media and oil are very important to insure democracy. Also I think beside private and state ownership, stock ownership and national mutual funds need to be added. I have discussed some of those items in the proposed platform of the futurist party.
4. On item#53, it says majles can call for referendum on important national issues with 2/3 of votes. I agree with this but I also would like to add another procedure of calling for referenda by collecting signature petition of 3% of the population, thus enabling the electorate directly to bring bills that may not have been introduced by representatives.
5. On Item#65. It says the deputies and VPs of president to be from the representatives of parliament. I am not sure if this is a good idea. This is in a way contrary to separation of power. Nonetheless I can be wrong and I wait for friends to tell me what is good about this. Maybe I will be convinced and I look forward to discussing this item further.
6. On Items#85-91. I have an issue with all these items. It seems to me that there is a parallel government called shorAhA? I am all for new ways of direct participatory democracy like ballot initiatives, but having a parallel shorAhA like Soviets, in practice has been like having two parliaments, with the latter being a tool of communist party in Soviet Union, and in Iran as the tool of Islamists in revolutionary committees. I know about anjomanhAyeh iiAlati va velAyati of mashrootiat but for me they should translate to federal organs like the one sees in the U.S., rather than making them into soviets. I think federal structure is a useful redundancy to ensure checks and balances, but Soviet style parallel structure is more of a party type parallel state like in Baathi states and communist states, and has been adding more to dictatorship than to democracy, contrary to the intention of those from Paris Commune to the later communists, Islamists, and Baathists. Thus I think dropping shorA (soviets) and adding federalism is critical for a proper constitution.
7. On Item#122. I do not think one year draft (compulsory military) is needed. Actually in this day and age the draft is a waste of money; and armies that are based on draftees are useless. I think to the degree that any army is needed, it should use cadre staff, and the draft should be completely abolished. And the military should focus more on professionalism and high tech rather than draftees, which made sense at the time of 1789 French Revolution and Napoleon, but today is just a drain on the state, unless one like the mollahs uses it to milk the people by asking them to buy (sic) their draft .
8. On item#130. It is a good idea to require political parties to give their laws to the state to determine if they are against democratic principles or not, to be allowed to organize or not, but what if they are ambiguous about their own principles, like some mellimazhabi parties, where they just call themselves followers of God. Also who is the authority to make this decision to allow them to organize or to ban them? Is vezArate keshvar (dept of Interior), like it is in IRI, the right authority to make that decision, or courts should do it?
9. Finally I think a lot needs to be added regarding the judicial branch which has always been usurped by mollahs in Iran and how the constitution can protect the country from the continued role of those who have positions in religious organization of Shi'a while also taking hold of judicial branch.
My thanks to Ardeshir Dolat for putting together such a great work.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
Oct 30, 2003
P.S. Dr. Masoud Kazemzadeh's Note in response to above intro: