TEHRAN, June 24 (MNA) -- People across the country flocked to polling stations on Friday in a closely contested runoff presidential election between Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Tehran Mayor Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who secured first and second place in the first round on June 17.

Rafsanjani received 21 percent of the vote and Ahmadinejad 19.5 percent in last week’s election, in which 63 percent of the electorate turned out. The interior minister said about 46.7 million people are eligible to vote. The voting age is 15 in Iran.


The election began at 9 a.m. local time and was initially set to end at 7 p.m. The Interior Ministry, which is tasked with organizing the election, extended the polling hours twice to 10 p.m. (1730 GMT) across the country and in polling stations outside the country as a great number of people turned out to cast their ballots. In last week's inconclusive first round vote, polling hours were extended several times and stations finally closed at 11 p.m., also to allow more voters to cast ballots.


Yesterday, Interior Ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani told reporters that the ministry had received reports of irregularities in the election and warned it might suspend voting at certain polling stations. However, the Guardian Council dismissed the complaints and ruled out any moves to halt the process.


"Certain people are trying to disturb the election by disseminating false information," Guardian Council spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told the student news agency ISNA.


Elham said the Guardian Council had received no reports of irregularities.


Khatami guarantees fair election


President Mohammad Khatami here on Friday expressed hope that there would be an even larger turnout for the runoff than in the first round of the presidential election.


After casting his ballot at the Interior Ministry, Khatami told reporters that he guaranteed a fair election, saying, “We have held the fairest election so far and will take legal action in the event of any possible violations.”


The president stressed that the Intelligence Ministry, the Guardian Council, and all other government organizations are completely prepared to take action in response to violations that could influence the electoral process.


“Fortunately, a sufficient number of observers from the Guardian Council, executive branch electoral officials, inspectors, and representatives are present at the polling stations. Therefore, we will not witness any violations during polling and, thanks to God, a fair election will be held.”


Khatami noted that the people should continue on the path they have chosen by relying on their vote.


“We need a free, prosperous, and advanced country in which there is justice. Therefore, the people should make a wise decision in order to witness further progress.


“Holding a fair election is of prime importance for the government and the Interior Ministry at this point in time.”


He stated that no violations occurred in the first round of the poll, adding, “Even if a minor violation occurred, it did have any influence on the results.”


Observers and executive branch electoral officials are quite vigilant, the president added.


“They are well aware of their duty, which is safeguarding the people’s votes. Therefore, we will not observe any such violation.”


Khatami said that the people’s presence in the scene of elections demonstrates their devotion to the country and the Islamic system and their desire to resist foreign threats.


“The more people participate, the more votes the winner will obtain, and this will help him run the country with more self-confidence,” he observed.


Election held in complete peace: intelligence minister


Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said on Friday that everything was prepared for holding a peaceful and safe election, adding that appropriate measures had been taken to safeguard the votes of the nation. 


Speaking to reporters at the Interior Ministry’s election headquarters, Yunesi stated that the participation of military and paramilitary forces in the electoral process would be a violation of the law. 


Yunesi added that no vote-rigging had taken place in the first round of the poll but admitted that there were some “irregularities”.


He said some elements behind the electoral violations have been arrested, adding that certain networks that had produced CDs and leaflets to defame candidates have been identified and arrested.


All those arrested have been handed over to Judiciary officials, he said.


The intelligence minister refused to disclose the location of the arrests in order to avoid politicization of the issue.


Interior minister calls first round Iran’s best election ever


Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari said here on Friday that the June 17 first round of Iran’s 9th presidential poll was the best election ever held in the country.


After casting his ballot in the second round, he told reporters that the polling was conducted in full security and peace.


The administrative and supervisory officials in charge of the election performed their duty at the highest rate of efficiency and readiness, Lari noted.


He stressed that no complaints had been lodged against the Guardian Council supervisors, the Interior Ministry, or the election headquarters during the first round.


In response to a query about questions raised by some presidential candidates about the way votes were counted in the first round, Lari stated that there was no doubt about the legitimacy of the vote counting.


The interior minister also noted that a sufficient number of ballots were provided to the Foreign Ministry for use by Iranian expatriates in the runoff poll.


People showed they have no need for the dictated democracy of the U.S.: Majlis speaker  


Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said here on Friday that the people’s presence at the polling stations in the runoff presidential election was a firm response in opposition to U.S.-style democracy.  


“The people showed that with religious democracy they have no need for the dictated democracy of the United States,” he told reporters after casting his ballot.


U.S. officials are unaware of the realities in Iran, he added.


U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice say Iran’s electoral process is undemocratic, citing the Guardian Council’s rejection of 1000 candidates, he said.


“But here, people don’t feel that way, and the fact that a great number of candidates were rejected is not at all surprising to anyone,” he explained.


Haddad Adel advised the candidates’ supporters to prepare equally for victory or defeat before the result of the election is announced.


He said that the next president should focus on social justice and should fight poverty, corruption, and discrimination while leading the country toward development.


Haddad Adel called the people the main winners of Iran’s ninth presidential poll and said that the country’s officials should show their appreciation for the people’s presence in the scene of the election and their trust in the Islamic system by bringing an end to all disputes in order to better serve the nation.


Iranian voters will embarrass U.S. leaders again: Shahrudi


Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi said here on Friday that the Iranian nation would once again embarrass U.S. leaders through their massive participation in the presidential election.


After casting his ballot, Shahrudi said that despite Iranians’ overwhelming turnout in the first round, U.S. officials have turned a blind eye to this most explicit manifestation of "religious democracy" and are still trying to downplay the people's participation in the poll by spreading lies.


He said the results of last week's election had surprised the world and the enthusiastic participation of the people had foiled the propaganda of the enemies.


Elsewhere in his remarks, the Judiciary chief rejected as "exaggeration" certain claims about alleged irregularities in the election and said the poll had been held "in the fairest manner".


Shahrudi stated that the allegations raised about the election are not related to the counting and casting of ballots, adding that such occurrences are common in all elections.


He also said Iran's election procedure is unrivalled in the world.






News Code 11764

Your Comment

You are replying to: .
  • captcha