Interior Ministry Seeks to Promote Electoral Enthusiasm

Interior Ministry Seeks to Promote Electoral Enthusiasm Interior Ministry Seeks to Promote Electoral Enthusiasm

The top Interior Ministry official said efforts should be made to bolster electoral enthusiasm among the Iranian people and prepare the ground for a fair competition in the three upcoming votes.

"We should work to hold elections in a warm and reasonable atmosphere and in full compliance with the law," Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said in a meeting with provincial governors in Tehran on Monday, IRNA reported.

Fazli also said the ministry will be strict about protecting national security and political groups should avoid creating tensions by behaving unreasonably and using inflammatory rhetoric.

"No excuses will be accepted from political figures and factions for compromising national security and violators will be strictly dealt with," he said. The Interior Ministry is the organizer of all Iranian elections, three of which will be held concurrently on May 19, namely presidential, city council and midterm parliamentary polls.   

Hopefuls for the presidential race should sign up from April 11 to 15. Those who successfully pass the vetting process conducted by the Guardians Council will have 20 days to stage their electoral campaigns, from April 28 to May 17.

The registration period for midterm Majlis elections in four constituencies will be held from February 26 to March 4 and would-be lawmakers will have May 11-17 to canvass for votes.

The signing up period for the city council votes will last one week from March 20 to 26, but the Majlis and Interior Ministry have agreed to expedite the process and start registrations on March 13, as the previous date coincided with Iran's Norouz (New Year) holidays on March 21–April 2. The campaigning period for city council hopefuls is the same as midterm parliamentary votes, namely May 11-17.

  No Legal Change for Now  

A draft bill on the comprehensive election law, meant to consolidate rules and articles related to elections, was to reform the procedure of May 19 elections.

But late last month, government officials announced the bill, which is still under review in the Cabinet's Political and Defense Committee, will not be sent to Majlis in time and is not likely to impact the May 19 polls.  Among other measures, the bill clarifies the financing of election campaigns and handling of violations.

In a decree issued on Wednesday, the interior minister appointed his deputy for political affairs, Ali Asghar Ahmadi, as head of the election headquarters.

Guardians Council, the watchdog for all Iranian elections, except the city council, has also established the election oversight committee for presidential polls.

A special parliamentary board tasked with overseeing the city council votes and vetting its candidates has announced that ballot boxes will be replaced by voting machines in one-sixth of the polling stations across the country, the total number of which is 66,000, covering one-third of eligible voters.

For e-polling in presidential elections, the Interior Ministry is still negotiating with the Guardians Council and the final decision is yet to be announced.

Security concerns prevented e-voting in this year's Majlis elections. It is expected to help minimize irregularities, cut costs and accelerate the process of counting ballots.


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