Monday, April 28, 2008

Conservatists Win Again

Iran’s Majlis Elections Finalized

With the run off elections held last Friday, the dossier of the run off elections for the ‎eight Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) is closed. According to the final results, Elias Naderan, ‎Laleh Eftekhari, Mehdi Kutchakzadeh, ALireza Zakani, Ali Asghar Zarei, Tabibeh ‎Safayi, Parviz Sarvari, Hamid Rasayi, Hossein Fadayi Ashtiani, Zohreh Elahian were ‎among the Principalists (as the ideologues supporting the President are called) in Tehran ‎who found their way to the legislative body. Alireza Mahjoob was the only reformist ‎candidate along with the 22 others from the first round of elections who won a seat in the ‎Majlis. According to Aftab news website of the 25 million potential voters in these ‎elections, less than 15 percent actually cast their ballots.‎

An analysis published on Raja news site which is close to President Ahmadinejad ‎claimed the results to be not just a victory of the conservatists over the reformers, but also ‎a victory of pro-government conservatists over critical conservatists who had supported ‎Rezayi, Qalibaf and Larijani in the first round of elections on March 14, 2008.‎

Yesterday Mostafa Pourmohammadi who lost his cabinet post because of the first round ‎of Majlis elections on March 14, 2008, spoke to reporters about his views on the ‎elections. “287 Majlis seats have been finalized of which about 69 percent belong to ‎those that known as the Principalists (conservatist ideologues), 16.38 percent belong to ‎the reformists and the remaining 14.29 percent are independents,” he said. ‎

While a number of sites wrote about the “absolute defeat” for the reformists, Seyed ‎Safdar Hosseini, the head of the provincial committee of the reformist’s coalition spoke ‎of a “categorical victory” of the reformists in the run off elections. Without providing any ‎statistics for Tehran, he said, “We succeeded in winning categorically in many provinces ‎and towns and sending Messer Ansari from Zanjan, Torabifrom Shahr Kord, Alipour ‎from Lordegan, Kaabi from Abadan, Nasiripour from Sarab and Shooshtari from ‎Ghoochan, among others, to the eight Majlis and the final results for these will be ‎announced subsequently. Of the remaining 28 seats for the reformers during the run off ‎elections of April 25, 2008, 15 candidates have so far won seats in the provinces and will ‎thus go to the Majlis.”‎

In a related news, Masood Soltanifar, an officer in the Etemad Melli (National Trust) ‎party elections campaign told ISNA student news agency, “Two thirds of the candidates ‎put forward by Etemad Melli which account for 16 individuals from amongst 24, have ‎found their way to the Majlis. They are from the election districts of Chaloos and ‎Nowshahr, Yazd, Zanjan, Lordegan, Bandar Torkaman and Kordkui, Kermanshah, ‎Zanjan, Sarab, Mianeh, Ghoochan, Abadeh, Gonbad Kawoos, Shiraz, Sanandaj, Tabriz ‎and Shahre Kord in which they won majority votes.”‎

The first round of elections was held on March 14 and was followed by serious ‎accusations and complaints of “extensive rigging” announced by reform candidates. Two ‎senior clerics in the Islamic Republic (khatami and karubi)even filed official complaints ‎to the head of the Guardians Council that oversees and supervises all national elections ‎and requested recounts. While their request was ignored, Mehdi Karubi requested that the ‎Ministry of the Interior take greater care should be taken in the counting of votes for the ‎run off elections that were held on April 25th, 2008. Mr. Pourmohammadi from the ‎ministry had responded that “Mr. Karubi can sleep tight” as he was certain the elections ‎would be held with full integrity. Still Aftab news website reported that during the ballot ‎counting the Reformers’ Elections Campaign had called the results “wary”.‎

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