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Iran survey: 92 percent of voters to stay away from presidential polls

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 01 – A nationwide survey conducted by an Iranian opposition group showed widespread voter apathy in Iran’s upcoming June 17 presidential elections.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) said in a press release that a survey of 1,730 adults eligible to vote showed that 92 percent of voters intend to boycott the elections. The survey was based on interviews conducted between May 27 and May 30, 2005. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 01 – A nationwide survey conducted by an Iranian opposition group showed widespread voter apathy in Iran’s upcoming June 17 presidential elections.

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) said in a press release that a survey of 1,730 adults eligible to vote showed that 92 percent of voters intend to boycott the elections. The survey was based on interviews conducted between May 27 and May 30, 2005.

While the PMOI as an opposition group has clear interests in promoting a boycott of the polls, independent observers also believe that this year’s presidential election is a lacklustre event that has failed so far to generate any interest among Iranians.

“It’s hardly a choice to make people motivated,” said Mohamed Rezaie, a Paris-based political scientist. “On the ballot, you have two mullahs, four Revolutionary Guards generals, and two leftovers from Khatami’s cabinet who have no credibility. Add to this the rising discontent, and you see why the boycott appeal has never been as strong as it is today.”

Of the eight percent who said that they would be taking part in the elections, 4.7 percent said that they would be voting for ex-President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and 3.0 percent said they favoured hard-line candidate Ali Larijani. Only one person said that he planned to vote for ex-Majlis speaker Mehdi Karroubi.

Eleven of those surveyed said that they planned to throw blank ballots in the boxes. Blank votes made up a significant percentage of the ballots in the last election, as many of the voters simply go to the polling stations to have their ID cards stamped. Anyone whose ID card is not stamped could face a series of consequences, such as being refused public sector jobs.

A total of 1,730 people from a variety of backgrounds and in different sectors of society were surveyed, according to the PMOI statement.

Last month the Guardian Council, Iran’s hard-line watchdog loyal to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, banned over 1,000 presidential candidates, including all the women who had registered.

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