Iran parliamentary elections

 

Polls extended in Iran parliamentary elections

CBC TV - Canada

 

TEHRAN - Voting was extended by four hours in Iran Friday in an election
that seemed more about the percentage of ballots cast rather than an
almost-certain outcome.

Hardline Conservatives are virtually assured of winning back parliament
after the Islamic Grand Council banned more than 2,400 reform-minded
candidates from running.


INDEPTH:
Iran

Reformers urged people to boycott the election, but it was not clear how
many eligible voters stayed away. Results were expected Saturday.

Preliminary estimates suggested turnout was around 50 per cent. Hardliners
had forecast a figure of 60 per cent, while reformers hoped less than 40 per
cent of voters would cast ballots.

The ban against reform candidates triggered the biggest political crisis in
Iran since the Islamic Revolution, as reform deputies protested and then
resigned.


Iranians line up to vote.

Mohsen Mirdamadi, a former deputy of parliament, said the mass ban may help
speed up democratic reforms and greater openness with the West.

"I think the engine of reform is coming from outside the government, inside
society, inside civil institutions, [non-governmental organizations],
press," said Mirdamadi.

Backers of the boycott used e-mail, websites and a blitz of mobile phone
text messages to urge voters to stay away. They dubbed the election the
"funeral of freedom," and said a low turnout would discredit the ruling
theocracy.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by contrast, called for a high
turnout.

The vote coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that
brought to power Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and installed one of the most
restrictive Islamic regimes in the
Middle East.

Ziba Jalail, an Iranian political analyst, said the vast majority of young
Iranians, who have no memory of life under Khomeini, have other ambitions.

"Our society is young and it's believing in itself. It's not waiting for
another power to come and to save them," said Jalail.



Written by CBC News Online staff