Voter Turnout Crucial to Credibility

Voter Turnout Crucial to  Credibility Voter Turnout Crucial to  Credibility

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution underscored the importance of a high public turnout in the upcoming elections, which is key to the Islamic system's "credibility."

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei was speaking in a meeting with Friday prayers leaders in Tehran on Monday.

"The higher the people's turnout, the greater the strength and credibility of the establishment and the country," he said, referring to the next parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections due on February 26, IRNA reported.

"We have always stressed the public turnout, because this is a system based on popular demands and preferences."

Over 12,000 and 800 candidates signed up last month for the parliamentary and the assembly votes respectively.

The Guardians Council, a clerical body comprised of 12 members, is charged with vetting the applications and releasing the final list by early February.

Ayatollah Khamenei said no qualified applicant should be denied a place on the ballot.

"People's rights should be observed in elections. No competent individual should be disqualified and denied the opportunity. Also, no incompetent person should be allowed to run for either elections. The lists should be prepared solely on merit," he said.

The Leader criticized those who express skepticism about the soundness of the forthcoming votes, saying every election in the Islamic Republic has been "clean."

"Some past governments have had quite opposite approaches, but when it came to elections they all acted correctly. Clean votes have been held so far and, God willing, so will be the future elections," he said.

"There may be some minor irregularities here and there, but there has been absolutely no organized fraud to [significantly] affect the result of elections."

Ayatollah Khamenei called on officials involved in the organization and supervision of elections to observe the law and respect people's votes.