Electronic Majlis Runoff “Possible”

Electronic Majlis Runoff “Possible”Electronic Majlis Runoff “Possible”

A senior lawmaker said the second round of Majlis elections, due to be held in April, can be held electronically if legal preparations are made soon.

In an interview with ICANA on Friday, Mohammad Javad Kolivand said that in order to hold polls electronically, the related legislation should first be modified by Majlis.  

"Majlis will remove the bill's flaws pointed by the Guardians Council in an open season of Majlis on Sunday," he said.

The Guardians Council is charge of checking Majlis approvals in terms of their consistency with the Constitution and Islamic law, in addition to vetting electoral candidates and supervising elections.

"If the council approves the modified legislation, future elections can be held electronically, including runoffs and midterm elections," he said.

Kolivand said he hoped the legislation will be okayed soon, so the ballot boxes can be replaced by electronic voting machines in the April runoff.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on Tuesday his ministry, which is in charge of conducting elections, is ready to hold the second round of the Majlis polls by using electronic machines.

This is while the last week’s parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections were due to be held electronically, but the Guardians Council opposed the plan and cancelled it. Fazli had said on October 15 that the two elections will be held electronically in nine cities that have one-third of the total polling stations, namely Tehran, Tabriz, Mashhad, Karaj, Shiraz, Kermanshah, Ahvaz, Isfahan and Qom.

Electronic voting requires both computer hardware and software.

Fazli had explained that on the hardware needed for electronic implementation of the polls, the ministry has reached consensus with the Guardians Council, but they are still negotiating issues related to the software.

However, back on January 20, the Guardians Council spokesman, Nejatollah Ebrahimian, said the elections will not be held electronically.

Ebrahimian said the 12-member body has decided to cancel the plan because the parliament has failed to prepare the legal framework and there were also security concerns about the electronic machines.

For the first time, votes for the Majlis and the Assembly of Experts, the 88-member clerical body tasked with electing and overseeing the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, was held simultaneously in 52,000 polling stations across 31 provinces last Friday. Results suggested that 221 Majlis seats were filled in the primary vote, but the fate of 69 vacant seats of the total 290 should be decided in the April runoff, in which 138 contenders will contest.

According to the electoral law, in any of the total 207 constituencies where the winners cannot secure a minimum of 25% votes, a runoff will be held.

E-voting helps minimize the possibility of irregularities and reduces the time needed to count the ballots from several days to half a day. Besides, through enhanced transparency, it reduces the election costs.