Thursday, April 3, 2008

Majlis Elections Were Rigged

Khoramshahr Friday Prayer Leader Protests:

‎A week after the Majlis elections in the South-Western town of Khoramshahr, the ‎representative of ayatollah Khamenei in the town annulled the elections and announced ‎that “the elections involved all kinds of violations.”‎

As reported by Tabnak website, “Seyed Abolhassan Nouri, the Friday congregational ‎prayer leader of Khoramshahr mentioned 'Election rigging', 'coercion of voters' and the ‎‎'sale-purchase of votes' as the violations in the Majlis elections in the town.‎

‎“Elections in Khoramshahr were held in dirty waters and it is most unfortunate that there ‎was coercion, bullying and fraud involved,” he said. Nouri also revealed that some ‎government agencies possessed documents supporting the rigging, adding, ‎‎“Unfortunately residents of other election districts were moved to Khoramshahr in an ‎effort to have them vote for pre-identified candidates.” He also quoted some observers ‎who had charged that they had “seen with their own eyes that money had passed hands to ‎individuals who were told to vote for particular candidates.”‎

Nouri then turned his protests to the elected representative from Khoramshahr and said, ‎‎“If you were a courageous person you would have resigned under the circumstances. ‎These elections are infected.”‎

In his meeting with Passdaran Revolutionary Guard officials, Nouri told them that the ‎province of “Khuzestan was unhappy the way some of the elements in this force treated ‎the public.”

Baztab website reported this issue under the headline, “Khoramshahr’s ‎Friday Prayer Leader Meets Certain Officials,” and quoted him saying, “Khoramshahr is ‎a border town and so any event that takes place in it is immediately transferred to the ‎regional countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, etc.”‎

In his wide-ranging criticism, the cleric also pointed a finger at the Governor-General of ‎the province and said he had not performed his duties, adding, “The Governor-General ‎ignored our good-will notices regarding the violations that took place 24 hours before the ‎elections.” This criticism was leveled at Mostafa Motavarzadeh who according to Fars ‎news agency is supported by the group known as the Principalists (Osoolgaran, who are ‎right wing supporters of the President). He himself came to office after defeating his rival ‎by a mere 1,000 votes which some observers have said were bought through monetary ‎payments and rigging. In addition to the revelations of this cleric, some websites such as ‎Abadan News too mentioned and confirmed the purchase of votes in this voting district.‎

The chief elections inspector in the province of Khuzestan where Khoramshahr is located ‎and who is responsible for the integrity of the elections under his jurisdiction said, ‎‎“Following the investigations that have taken place by the provincial inspectors, the ‎degree of violations that took place in the campaigning and voting in the province was ‎very low which in any case did not impact the outcome of the elections.”

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