Last Friday’s Majlis elections were, according to unofficial sources, the most controversial and rigged elections in the Islamic Republic’s history.
Prior to Friday’s elections, some political figures had warned about the election’s integrity due to ideological affiliations between election administrators and oversight committees. The earliest news reports on Friday morning indicated that soldiers stationed in garrisons in Northern Tehran were “forced to vote for hardliner candidates.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who shortened his trip to Africa to return for the elections appeared at the “Lorzadeh” mosque in Tehran and cast his vote. Reporting from the same mosque, the reformist news website Baharestan-e Hashtom wrote, “In a move that clearly violated election rules, administrative and oversight voting officers handed out flyers belonging to the United Front [the hardliner group associated with President Ahmadinejad].”
At the headquarters of the Reformist Coalition group news broke out that administration supporters were setting up campaign placards belonging to hardliners candidates across Tehran in a move to tempt voters to vote for candidates affiliated with the administration. Electioneering must legally stop 24 hours prior to election day.
But in a blatant violation of election rules, officers from the Guardian Council barred representatives appointed by the Reformist Coalition group from overseeing the counting of ballots in several of Tehran's precincts.
A news source in Tehran told Rooz that last Friday, workers working at state-owned factories were forced to vote for candidates affiliated with the administration. According to this source, laborers working at Saipa, Iran Khodro, and Pars Khodro auto assembly plants, who were for the first time, working three shifts last Friday, were given campaign material belonging to United Front candidates and asked to vote for them. More than 40 thousand laborers were allegedly involved in the event.
Other than Tehran, reports of rampant violations came from across the country as well. Rooz received a report indicating that in some villages, members of the Basij were recruited to brief the public regarding the “supreme leader’s wishes.” This report added that among the supreme leader's wishes was a "religious order" to vote for candidates affiliated with the administration.
Hardliners Complain Against Hardliners
Hardliners Complain Against Hardliners
Aftab website published a letter authored by several candidates from the Broad Coalition group (Etelafe Faragire Osoolgaran), a hardliner group rivaling the administration-backed United Front (Jebhe Motahed). The letter revealed that the scope of vote-riggings and violations were not limited to reformist candidates. In their letter, which was addressed to the Guardian Council, the Broad Coalition candidates lamented frequent violations and voter fraud. In the words of one analyst, in this election, “Ahamdinejad’s supporters targeted not just the reformists, but also critical hardliners.”
The Broad Coalition candidates complained in their letter, “In light of frequent violations perpetrated by the ‘United Front’ [affiliated with the president], including placement of campaign placards and display of names of candidates in the three non-campaign days, and given eye-witness accounts and reports from the public regarding frequent violations in ballot centers in favor of United Front’s candidates in Tehran, Rey, Islamshahr and Shemiranat, while condemning such actions and calling for their immediate investiagation, we warn of the consequences of such violations.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday evening, the minister of interior, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, announced that “Of those elected to the Majlis, 71 percent are principlists and support the country’s current policies.” The minister's announcement angered the reformists.
In connection with the minister's announcement, the spokesperson for the reformist coalition, Abdollah Naseri, said, “We did not expect the interior minister to reduce the position of himself and his office to the level of the hardliner camp’s spokesperson.”