Over 60% Turnout in Friday Elections

Over 60% Turnout in Friday Elections
Over 60% Turnout in Friday Elections

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said over 33 million Iranians have cast their votes in Friday polls to pick their representatives for the next parliament and Assembly of Experts.

Speaking in a press conference at the Elections Headquarters in Tehran Saturday afternoon, Fazli said the turnout from among 55 million eligible voters is over 60%, although the counting is not complete and the tally will definitely increase.

“We devoted efforts to conduct peaceful elections and organize the contest well,” IRNA quoted him as saying. “As of now, no ballot boxes have been annulled.”

The interior minister said the returns of legislative polls in 61 constituencies have been delivered, of which the lawmakers in 48 constituencies are determined and in 13 others, winners who did not reach the minimum tally of over 25% of votes will enter the runoff round, likely to be held in April. Fazli said that by the end of Saturday, the results of 80% of ballot boxes will be announced, hoping that the preliminary return of Tehran constituency would be announced by around 9 p.m. local time.

There were 207 constituencies for the 290-seat Majlis vote and 31 for the 88-member Assembly of Experts, a clerical body that elects and oversees the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

The largest share of seats in the Majlis and assembly belongs to the capital city of Tehran with 4,641 ballot boxes. From around 6.6 million people eligible to elect 30 lawmakers and 16 theologians for the assembly, Fazli said about 2.9 million voted in Tehran, which means a 45% voter turnout for the capital.

Fazli had previously said turnout in the capital may take up to three days, due to the simultaneous voting for two bodies and competition of around 1,000 hopefuls for the parliamentary seats.

This year, for the first time, the elections were held simultaneously in 52,000 polling stations across the country.

Voting started on Friday from 8 a.m. and were expected to be closed by 6 p.m., but the Interior Ministry extended the voting period several times, after which election officials began counting votes around midnight.

Lawmakers are elected to office every four years, while theologians of the assembly are selected every eight years.

According to the electoral laws, the Guardians Council is tasked with vetting the candidates and supervising the event, while the Interior Ministry is in charge of conducting elections.

After examining the qualifications of a record 12,123 individuals registered to run in the parliamentary poll, the council verified the credentials of 6,233 candidates.

This is while Mohammad Hossein Moqimi, the head of the Interior Ministry’s Elections Headquarters, said on Thursday 4,844 hopefuls would contest the 290 seats, indicating that over 1,000 candidates had withdrawn. For the assembly, the qualifications of 161 were approved by the council, two of whom withdrew before the Election Day, from among the 795 individuals registered. In a statement on Saturday evening, the Interior Ministry released early results of the assembly polls.

Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani leads the list, followed by President Hassan Rouhani. Chairman of Combatant Clergy Association Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani, Head of Guardians Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and current Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi.