News | Election Chief Slips? States Turnout Near '34 Percent'
by DAN GEIST
04 Mar 2012 07:30
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Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30
7:30 a.m., 14 Esfand/March 4 An intriguing clip from Iranian state TV. Election Headquarters Director Seyyed Sowlat Mortazavi states the turnout for Friday's Majles elections as "34 and a few tenths of a percent," then corrects himself and recites the officially reported figure of 64.4 percent. Transcript below the video.
Mr. Mortazavi, since last night we have been witnessing the announcement of unofficial percentages of people's participation in the elections. What is your view? Does the elections headquarters at the Ministry of Interior confirm such statistics?
Unofficial statistics are what they are, unofficial. But the official statistics are what the respected Minister of Interior [Mostafa Mohammad Najar] has announced, 34 and a few tenths of a percent, pardon me, 64.4 percent was the percentage of people's participation in the voting.2 a.m., 14 Esfand/March 4 Press TV, the English-language subsidiary of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, is reporting an overwhelming victory for the so-called principlist camp in early, "unconfirmed" results from Friday's elections for the Majles, Iran's unicameral parliament. The meaning of "principlists" (osoolgarayan) shifts continuously, if subtly, within the context of Iranian politics. Press TV uses the term to refer to ultraconservative supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the doctrine of Velaayat-e Faghih by which he exercises absolute authority, particularly in contrast to those who back President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- except Ahmadinejad has referred to himself a principlist, and one of the primary principlist groups Press TV identifies as emerging victorious in Friday's voting is linked in multiple ways to the president. The article also refers to the electoral defeat of "prominent reformist figures"; in fact, most of Iran's prominent reformist figures are either in detention or boycotted the elections. According to Press TV,
The results of the ballots in small towns and cities have been announced and vote counting in 150 electoral constituencies indicate a landslide victory for the Principlist camp for the 290-seat parliament.
Of the winners so far, 28 candidates are from the reformist camp, 10 from the team supporting the government [Ahmadinejad administration] and 112 [from the] Principlist team comprising...the United Front, Perseverance Front and independent candidates.
Prominent reformist figures including Mostafa Kavakebian, Mohammadreza Khabbaz and Qodratollah Alikhani have not won the vote in their constituencies.
Parvin Ahmadinejad, the sister of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and long-time Principalist lawmaker Ahmad Nateq-Nouri, brother of former Majlis speaker Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nouri also failed to get a seat in parliament.
As described by Tehran Bureau columnist Muhammad Sahimi, the "United Front" is Jebheh Mottahed-e Osoolgarayan (JMO, or United Front of Principlists), which is under the sway of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and unequivocally aligned with Khamenei. The "Perseverance Front" is Jebheh Paaydaari-e Enghlelab-e Eslami (JPEE, or Durable Front of the Islamic Revolution), many of whose candidates have served in Ahmadinejad's administrations and which is largely bankrolled by former Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsouli, a long-time friend of the president's who is widely known as the "billionaire minister."
According to the Fars News Agency, which is closely linked to the Revolutionary Guards, "The latest reports from Iran's Election Headquarters said the ballot papers counted from 1700 boxes in Tehran constituency placed former Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel at the top of the list of the 30 candidates who can win a parliament seat from Tehran. The partial results were revealed after the Iranian interior ministry officials counted the votes cast in 1700 out of 5400 ballot boxes in Tehran in the Friday parliamentary elections." Haddad Adel, father-in-law of Khamenei's second son and potential successor, Mojtaba, headed the JMO's list for the capital district. And, like five other candidates in the district, he appeared on the JPEE's list, as well.
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