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Iran election round-up


Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 16
Poll: Election will result in run-off
Computer poll sees Rafsanjani-Moin in run-off
Iraqi President denies backing Rafsanjani
Vote with any form of ID okayed
Higher turnout will give President more “bargaining power”
Larijani: pointless to quit now
20,000 paramilitary policemen to guard Tehran polling booths
Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 16

Poll: Election will result in run-off

A pre-election opinion poll conducted on behalf of a news agency financed by the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei found that no candidate would get more than 50 percent of the total ballots cast. This means that for the first time in the Islamic Republic, there will be a run-off, most likely between ex-President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former police chief Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf. The poll said Rafsanjani would get 22.15 percent of the votes and Qalibaf 18.49 percent. News organizations run by Khamenei’s office have consistently tried to promote Qalibaf as the main challenger to Rafsanjani.

Computer poll sees Rafsanjani-Moin in run-off

Baztab website, which belongs to former Revolutionary Guards Commander Mohsen Rezai, said today that its unscientific computer poll showed Hashemi Rafsanjani first with 29 percent, Mostafa Moin second with 25 percent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad third with 23 percent, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf fourth with 10 percent, Ali Larijani fifth with 6 percent, Mehdi Karroubi sixth with 4 percent, and Mohsen Mehralizadeh seventh with 3 percent of the votes.
On the eve of the election, different factions of the clerical regime are putting out wildly contradictory opinion polls to support their favourite candidates and thrash their rivals. Mohsen Rezai, a protégé of Rafsanjani, has used Baztab as a vehicle for making publicity for his mentor. Baztab wrote today that “the publicity film show on television last night, which showed Hashemi Rafsanjani recounting his memories of Imam Khomeini, created a shock wave in his favour and moved many religious voters”.
Independent polls uniformly show that the only certainty in tomorrow’s election will be a record low turnout.

Iraqi President denies backing Rafsanjani

Azad Jondiani, head of the central information office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), denied published reports in the Iranian media that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had declared his support for Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani becoming Iran’s next President.
“Jalal Talabani, as President of Iraq, does not meddle in Iran’s internal affairs, in accordance with international law and neighbourly relations,” Rooydad website quoted the Iraqi Kurdish official as saying.
As Iran’s acting commander in chief throughout the 1980s and President for much of the 1990s, Rafsanjani was instrumental in shaping the clerical regime’s policy towards Iraq.

Vote with any form of ID okayed

Iran’s national election headquarters announced today that ballots could be cast by people without a form of identity that could be stamped to ensure that they only vote once. Polling officers would be instructed to write a number 9 on the identity in such a way that it the card itself is not defaced. Experts were quick to point out that fraudulent ballots could be cast if identity cards were not properly stamped.

Higher turnout will give President more “bargaining power”

A Majlis deputy from Tehran asserted today that a large voter turnout in tomorrow’s presidential elections will afford the incoming President greater manoeuvrability in dealing with the West. Hossein Nejabat, speaking to a state-run news agency, pointed to Iran’s nuclear program and human rights record as areas where the new President would be in a stronger position to defend the clerical regime against Western criticism.

Larijani: pointless to quit now

Ali Larijani, one of the three remaining ultra-conservative candidates in the race, said today that he saw no benefit in candidates pulling out at the eleventh hour. Some ultraconservative figures had suggested in recent days that all candidates of the Khamenei camp should reach a consensus and introduce a single candidate able to receive enough votes to win the election. “I said two weeks ago that if anyone wanted to pull out, now was the time; not on the eve of the big test”.

20,000 paramilitary policemen to guard Tehran polling booths

Some 20,000 from Iran’s State Security Forces will be on duty in the Iranian capital Tehran during the voting period, according to Tehran police chief, Brigadier General Morteza Talai. Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi-Lari also announced that tens of thousands of paramilitary policemen would be placed at poling stations across the country during the same period.

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