Allegations of Vote Irregularities Dismissed

Allegations of Vote Irregularities Dismissed Allegations of Vote Irregularities Dismissed

The Interior Ministry dismissed claims about widespread irregularities that could have affected several million ballots in the May 19 presidential elections, arguing that the whole election process was under the watchful eye of the Guardian Council.

As per law, the council is in charge of vetting all those seeking public office, overseeing elections and validating their results. The Interior Ministry is responsible for holding and organizing the vote.  The election results showed that an outright majority of voters, from among the 41 million plus who cast ballots, voted to extend the mandate of incumbent Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani got 23.5 million votes, handing a 57% to 38% defeat to his main challenger Ebrahim Raeisi who got 15.7 million votes.

"The entire process, including the balloting and counting, was carried out under the watch of at least three Guardian Council monitors," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Friday.

It said claims that seek to question and discredit election officials could provoke divisions among millions of people "who came to ballot box to defend the revolution and the Islamic Republic." It also warned that such unhelpful claims could have the potential to compromise national security.

The ministry was responding to Thursday's remarks by the secretary general of the Combatant Clergy Association Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, who asked the council to look into alleged violations and publicly announce the results.

"The irregularities did not influence the outcome of the vote [Rouhani's victory]…but if they are taken into account, votes for Raeisi could rise from 16 million to 19 million and those for Rouhani could fall from 23 million to 21 million."

  Watchful Eye

"Those who violated election rules should know that a watchful eye is kept on them, so they do not take the liberty to  repeat their mistakes," the senior cleric told a meeting of the Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces -- the body created by principlists last December, which later supported Raeisi in his failed bid to the presidency.

Last Sunday, Raeisi himself sent a three-page letter to the oversight body asking for alleged "misconduct and flagrant violations" to be investigated, enclosing "hundreds of pages of evidence" supporting his claims.

Before voting ended Friday midnight, his campaign team had complained of "widespread electoral violations" and called for intervention by authorities.

His campaign manager Ali Nikzad talked of "propaganda by certain officials and supporters of the government" in favor of Rouhani on polling day, and another campaign staff claimed that not enough ballot papers were available in areas presumably in favor of Raeisi.

The spokesman of the Guardians Council said last Monday it was looking into claims and complaints filed by presidential contenders against irregularities and offences before and during the vote, and will respond by Tuesday.


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