Oversight Body Validates Result of Presidential Election

Oversight Body Validates Result of Presidential ElectionOversight Body Validates Result of Presidential Election

The Guardians Council, a 12-member body in charge of supervising national elections and vetting those seeking public office, certified in a letter the returns of the May 19 presidential poll that saw the mandate of incumbent Hassan Rouhani extended for another four years.

Salman Samani, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry, made the announcement on Tuesday after receiving the council's letter, IRNA reported.  

In the bitterly-contested vote, in which 41 million plus ballots were cast, Rouhani trounced his main challenger Ebrahim Raeisi by a margin of 57% to 38%. Official data said 56 million people were eligible to vote.

Principlist Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza [PBUH] who has served in top judicial posts for almost four decades, last week sent a three-page letter to the oversight body demanding investigation into alleged "misconduct and flagrant violations". The Interior Ministry has dismissed all charges of irregularities


  Foul Play?  

In his first post-election speech to a gathering of supporters on Sunday, Raeisi complained of "engineered" infractions.  

"If the people feel these engineered and organized violations are not dealt with seriously, surely their trust will be undermined and this would be a big loss for the country," he claimed.

The council released a separate statement on Tuesday saying that after looking into complaints, its experts had judged some of them were "invalid".

"But the council also found some indictable offenses, which have been referred to the judiciary."

On the irregularities and offences listed in the complaints, the statement pointed to delays in opening some polling stations, shortage of ballot papers in some areas, publicity on polling day, misuse of government assets and facilities, partiality of election organizers and vote-selling. Last week, remarks by principlist Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani that the violations were so widespread that could have affected several millions of votes surprised many observers and the public at large.

"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."

The assertions drew a prompt response by the Interior Ministry. It said the whole election process was under the "watchful eye" of the powerful Guardian Council and claims designed to discredit election officials could "compromise national security".


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