In the process of counting ballots from last Friday's parliamentary elections and while results of many pecincts are still not determined, the Interior Ministry, in an unprecedented move, announced, “More than seventy percent of candidates elected to the eight Majlis of the Islamic Republic belong to the Principalist camp.” [Principalists or Osoolagarans are the government loyal forces.]
Until that the final hours of last night, only Majid Ansari, from the reformist E’temad Melli party, was among the top thirty candidates, at number thirty; an event that has been regarded with amazement and bewilderment by reformists and analysts alike. Adding to worries are contradictory numbers announced by different election officials.
The figures released in the last 24 hours point to conflicting results in Tehran’s race. In the final hours of yesterday, Shahab News reported, “Obvious contradictory figures from the district of Tehran and the absolute silence of the Interior Ministry has bewildered the people of Tehran and analysts.”
Meanwhile, while news agencies sympathetic to moderates reported that “close competition is taking place between prominent conservative and reformist candidates in Tehran,” according to a state Fars News Agency report at 7:07pm, “Based on results from 1100 ballot boxes, mostly located in Northern Tehran, 30 candidates from the various conservative groups are leading in votes.”
Fars News Agency, which is close to military and security organizations, announced these results while the Reformist Coalition's official website quoted the Coalition’s president, Hossein Marashi, as having said, “Based on reports that we have received so far, 17 reformist candidates are leading in Tehran and 17 reformist candidates from Tehran will win seats in the Majlis.”
The confusion over who is winning seats reached its climax when the Interior Ministry, in an unprecedented move, announced that it will refrain from publishing any figures in Tehran until after all the votes were counted.
Baharestan website, a reformist website to which access was denied this week, reported, “Reformist candidates are fighting with election officials to preserve the integrity of people's votes. Reports indicate that in large cities efforts are under way to deprive reformist candidates of spots in the Majlis. Due to such efforts, reformist candidates in Shiraz and Mashhad were not able to win seats in the first round.”
The Interior Ministry’s disregard for the reformists’ protests enticed the latter to demonstrate at the ministry's main building in Tehran. According to Norooz website, “In light of the Interior Ministry’s hesitance to announce Tehran's results and allegations of fraud and vote rigging in favor of one particular faction, dozens of reformist candidates gathered at the Ministry's main building and asked to be informed of the true election results.”
Raja News, a website close to the Ahmadinejad camp, reacted to this gathering and accused reformists of “politicking for more than their share.”
A reformist candidate, Javad Eta’at, noted yesterday, “Our representatives, who were present when votes were being counted in 400 ballot centers, reported that 17 to 18 reformists have received enough votes to win seats. We are amazed to see conservative news agencies publish Tehran's results when the Interior Ministry claims not to have released such results."