Politics
Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:0
Iran: Polls Close at Midnight
TEHRAN (FNA)- Polling stations in Iran closed for parliamentary elections and Assembly of Experts midterm voting at midnight after large public turnout in the final hours made Interior Ministry officials extend the deadline three times on Friday.

The Interior Ministry extended the voting deadline for a third and last time to keep the polling stations open until 24:00 (2030GMT).

Due to a high turnout, the Interior Ministry extended the voting deadline for 6 hours. Voting started at 8am local time (0430GMT) and was to end at 18:00 local time (1430GMT).

Ballot counting starts in less than an hour after all voters leave stations and Interior Ministry and Guardian Council election supervisory boards and monitors do the needed checks and controls.

Initial results in small cities and towns are expected to appear Saturday morning. Yet, the final results for larger cities, including the metropolitan capital Tehran, are expected in several days from now.

Tens of millions of Iranians headed to the polls to elect 290 members of Majlis (the parliament) and 7 members of the Assembly of Experts in its midterm elections on Friday morning.

Candidates from across the political isle were vying for 30 parliamentary and 3 Experts Assembly seats in the capital.

Long queues of people were reported in different cities and towns of Iran, including the capital, Tehran.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi and other high-ranking Iranian officials cast their votes in the early hours of Friday morning, calling for people's mass-participation.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had announced last Saturday that 54,611 polling stations across the country would open on Friday in 208 electoral regions, saying the ballot papers have been designed with 10 security indices to prevent any fraud.  

According to the interior minister, there are 57,918,159 eligible voters in the parliamentary elections on Friday, including around 3 million people eligible to vote for the first time.

Law Enforcement Police forces and (Basij) voluntary forces have been entrusted with establishment of security in different cities and towns during elections hours.

Last Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei called on people to go to the polls.

"Elections are a source for strengthening the country. Look at how US propaganda seeks to separate the people from the Islamic system. They create think tanks to plot this. They seek to distance the Iranian youth from the Islamic system, but they won’t succeed," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a large number of Iranian people from East Azarbaijan province in Tehran.

"Enemies and friends are watching. Enemies want to see the result of these economic problems, the Westerners’ deceit in their promises to us, and the US pressures on the people. Our friends watch worriedly, but we always tell them not to worry. The Iranian nation knows what it’s doing," he said.

"Taking part in the elections nullifies many of the vicious plots of the US and the Zionist regime against Iran. These elections repel the schemes and ploys of the enemies of Iran," Ayatollah Khamenei added.

"Iran should become stronger; this frustrates the enemy. One manifestation of strength is having a strong Majlis. The more participation there is in the election, the stronger the Majlis will be. This is one factor for strengthening the Majlis," he continued.

Campaigns officially kicked off in Iran last week by nominees of parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections.

The election campaigns officially started at 00:00 February 13, and the candidates had one week to win the people’s support for their candidacy.

The 11th parliamentary elections and the midterm elections for the Assembly of Experts – a body whose members designate the country’s Leader – are being held simultaneously.

Meantime, the Iranian interior minister said last Saturday that a runoff vote for the parliamentary seats will be held on April 17 if the candidates fail to garner enough votes on Friday.

Last year, Iran's parliament objected to a motion to increase the number of the seats, keeping the figure at 290.

A total of 57,918,000 people are eligible to cast their ballots, therefore; there would be one lawmaker at the parliament per each 190,000-strong segment of the Iranian population.

A total of 7,148 candidates, including dozens of Iranians from the religious minorities, are running for the parliament.

In capital Tehran, 1,335 candidates are contesting one of the 30 allocated seats on the legislature.

The lawmakers are elected for a 4-year term, with no limitation for the incumbent or former parliamentarians to run again.

 

 

 

 

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