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Ayatollah Sistani declares vote-buying ‘Haraam’

Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has issued a Fatwa (religious ruling), declaring vote-buying as Haraam (forbidden) ahead of the country’s parliament elections.

Speaking on behalf of the Ayatollah, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalaei, called on candidates and political parties to respect election laws and avoid trying to influence voter decision through dishonest means.

“Candidates and political entities must adopt a realistic and feasible program to encourage people to vote for them,” Sheikh Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai told worshippers during the Friday prayers sermon in Karbala’s Imam Hussein mosque.

“They should avoid making unrealistic promises… [They should] also refrain from slandering one another, because it is unacceptable and immoral,” he added.

Karbalai, who is a representative of the leading Shia spiritual leader, also noted that the religious leadership did not favor any particular group or candidate.

He said, however, that showing up at the ballot box on March 7 was not enough, stressing that everyone had a moral responsibility to choose the candidate that they believed would best secure Iraq’s present and future interests.

The cleric also explicitly stated that distributing money, gifts and promises of future handouts to impact election results are an impermissible act based on all religious and ethical principles.

“Accepting these sums is Haraam. Even if you disregard that fact, it would be degrading to Iraq’s national dignity if people start being drawn to a special candidate or group [for these reasons],” he explained.

Vote-buying is not an unheard of phenomenon in the Middle East, but Lebanon is considered on top of the list of regional countries where it is practiced.

According to a New York Times article, foreign money played a major role in determining the result of the country’s latest parliamentary elections, which ended in favor of the pro-West and Saudi-backed March 14 coalition.

Based on the American daily’s report, one adviser to the Saudi government has even confessed that Riyadh had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the elections in Lebanon, a country that only has a population of four million.

“We’re supporting candidates running against Hezbollah,” the Saudi advisor had told the New York Times.

The paper also said that Saad Hariri, the billionaire leader of the parliamentary majority and a Saudi ally, was alleged to be the biggest election spender.

source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=119692&sectionid=351020201

Published by Ali

Life is an eternal quest about knowing oneself.... I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to anyone's expectations; thereby a real loner in the crowd. Having said that, I believe that I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. With the heart that feels and the mind that thinks...I am not myself in any degree ashamed of having changed my opinions a billion times to reach a correct conclusion. Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life for me is impossible. I just love to study how things came into being, Love to watch the impressions created on the sand of time. You would see me talking to myself and the reason I talk to myself is that I'm the only one whose answers I accept and I would like to be what I am. I like it that way. I also call myself a militant pacifist. As I am willing to fight for peace. In matters of fashion I flow with the current, but In matters of principle I am like the stiff rock in the ocean that is not moved by any of the waves. At the same time I realize that there are six billion people living, with another six trillion principles to a particular thing. Modestly, I would love to know them all and see If I can break that stiff rock of the ocean. Looks, Status, Wealth are of no real significance for me. What I aim for in my self and look in other people around is Wisdom, Modesty, Good Character, Honesty and Credibility.. These things are really important.. When I am saying being a good character, There are a lot of people who have defined it their ways. But I simply mean "doing what is right when nobody is looking" and When I say credibility, That is when they practice what the preach. those are the lines of my thought !!

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