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March 30, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-30

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, March 30, 1979-Page 5
Iranians to vote in
Islamic referendum






TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranians vote
today and Saturday on whether to tran-
sform their troubled land into an
"Islamic republic," a vaguely defined
idea that comforts some with its
promise of a return to traditional
values and worries others with its un-
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the 78-
year-old holy man whose Islamic
revolution toppled Shah Mohammad
Reza Pahlavi's regime last month, says
all. Moslems must vote "Yes" in the
nationwide referendum - that to do
otherwise is treasonous to the prin-
ciples of Islam.
BUT ETHNIC and religious minority
groups and leftists, fearing domination
by Khomeini's conservative Shiite
Moslem sect, have called for a boycott
of the voting. Their spokesmen say the
referendum "jams an Islamic
republic" down their throats.
Armed members of one of the
dissident ethnic groups, the
Turkomans, rebelled in northeast Iran
this week, and government negotiators
yesterday were struggling to end the
bloody fighting. Officials said gover-
nment troops had moved into the city of
Gonbad-e-Qabous, the focus of the
Rebellious Kurdish tribesmen of
western Iran, like the Turkomans
seeking greater autonomy from
Tehran, battled government forces for
several days before a truce took effect
last week.
MANY IN IRAN'S westernized mid-
dle class also are apprehensive about
the referendum.

"I am not going to vote for anything
because I don't know what an Islamic
republic is," one man said yesterday.
Religious leaders expect an easy vic-
tory, however. They say, in fact, that
anything less than 80 per cent approval
would be a disappointment to
Khomeini. There has been no visible
campaign to vote against an Islamic
ALL IRANIANS above the age of 16
are eligible to vote - a total of some
18.7 million - and government officials
say they expect about 12 million to do
The ballot proposition is expected to
read: "To change the former regime to
an Islamic republic, for which a con-
stitution is to be approved by the
people." Voters must check one of two
boxes on the ballot - green for "Yes,"
red for "No."
Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Amir
Entezam said yesterday a simple
majority vote will be required to
establish an Islamic republic. If a
majority is not attained, he said,
another alternative will be offered to
the public in a later referendum.
IF THE proposition is approved, a
draft constitution for the country will be
released to the public, he said. A con-
stituent assembly would then be elected
and meet within 30 to 50 days to ap-
prove the final draft.
Details of the draft constitution have
not been fully disclosed, but gover-
nment officials have said it provides for
a single-chamber parliament, a
president as chief executive and equal
rights for minorities and women.

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A history course to explain the conflicts and crises of the present.
Cross-cultural; comparative; thematic
Did you ever expect to find together in one course: Karl Marx, Dean Billy
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Ar rnoto'
BRITAIN'S CONFIDENT Conservative Party leader, Margaret Thatcher, waves
to supporters after a vote of no confidence toppled Prime Minister James Cal-
laghan's Labor Party government Wednesday. If successful in the May 3 election,
Thatcher will become Europe's first female prime minister.
Conservatives favored
in British elections

(Continued fron rage 1)
Labor's slide climaxed Wednesday
night when a no-confidence motion
sponsored by the opposition Conser-
vatives passed by 0 vote of 311-310, top-
pling Callaghan's pinority government
and forcing electins.
The Conservatives would have
preferred an election April 26, the
earliest possible ,ate, to maintain their
political momentum.
THE LASTE4 opinion polls put the
Conservatives '12 percentage points
ahead of Labor That would be enough
to give them a whopping 50-seat
majority in tle 635-member House of
Labor won the last national election
in October 174 under Harold Wilson.
Callaghan tc'k over in April 1975 and
was bedeviled by political and
economic pioblems from the start.
The annotncement by Callaghan's of-
fice said she queen would dissolve
Parliameit April 7, and the new
Parliamelt would hold its first session.
May 9. siidays after the election.

THE CURRENT Parliament will sit
until April 4 to complete a stopgap
budget to give the outgoing government
power to collect taxes, pay salaries and
clean up other essential business. Then,
until the election, the Callaghan
Cabinet will stay on in a caretaker role.
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