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  • Date :
  • 3/15/2008

Iranians voted for a new parliament


Iranians went to the polls on Friday in a national election to elect new MPs for the 290-seat parliament.

A total of 4500 candidates ran in the parliamentary election.

The polling stations opened at 8 a.m. local time and were kept open past the scheduled closing time of 6 p.m. to accommodate late voters.

The race was mainly between conservatives and reformists, especially in the capital Tehran, which itself sends 30 MPs to parliament.

To woo voters, each of the rival factions as well as independents claimed their program would control inflation and create more jobs.

Each faction said experts should be elected to parliament who can approve laws that would reduce the economic burden on the people.

During the election campaign, the reformists criticized the conservatives for dragging their feet in the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution, which calls for the privatization of state companies. They even said the economic policy adopted by the conservatives is not in line with the 20-Year Outlook Plan.



Voting is a right that should be exercised

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei called on people to fully exercise their right to vote on Friday.

“For instance, in the Tehran constituency, in which candidates are contesting 30 Majlis seats, if people vote for 29 candidates, they have failed to use one thirtieth of their right to vote.”

After casting his vote, the Leader described the March 14 election as a crucial day for the Iranian nation and advised all citizens to use this opportunity.

He also asked people not to postpone going to the polls until the last hours before they close.

Iranian Jews register to cast their ballots for their representative to parliament at a polling station in Tehran.


Ahmadi nejad

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Iranian nation’s presence in the country’s political arena would humiliate the enemies.

The Majlis belongs to the people and its strength depends on a massive turnout, he said after voting in Friday’s parliamentary election.

Ahmadinejad flew in from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Dakar, Senegal to cast his vote.

He said the Iranian people have always made the right decision and all eyes are now on the Iranian nation, adding that the world wants to select Iran as its “role model”.

“This election is a strong response to the insults and coercion of the global arrogance,” he asserted in a reference to the imperialist forces.

The president also expressed regret that teenagers under the age of 18 were not eligible to vote in this election. The voting age had been 15, but the parliament passed a law raising the voting age to 18 in 2007.

Meanwhile, Assembly of Experts Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said election boycotts never produce the desired result and critics of the government who refuse to go to the polls are making a big mistake.

Those who do not intend to participate in the election will harm themselves more than anyone else since that it is a kind of “self-destruction”, he stated in a sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran.

If anyone has any objection, they should express it by voting in the election, Rafsanjani added.

On a visit to the Interior Ministry’s election headquarters, National Confidence Party Secretary General Mahdi Karrubi said the interior minister had repeatedly assured candidates and the general public that the election would be completely fair. 

Karrubi added that he was certain that there would be more NCP MPs in the next parliament.

There are about 44 million eligible voters in the country. Some 700,000 citizens were tasked with monitoring and providing security for the election.

Christians vote to elect one of their three representatives to parliament.

The vote was a blow to the U.S. and certain European countries which have been pressing for tough economic sanctions to be imposed on Iran for its legal and peaceful nuclear program.

The U.S. pushed for a hasty UN Security Council resolution against Iran to discourage people from voting.

Interior Minister Mostafa Purmohammadi said the Interior Ministry uses advanced computers to count the votes and the results are expected by Monday or Tuesday.

Average voter turnout in the world is 45-60 percent, Iran’s average voter is 62.5 percent, he added.

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