Parliamentary elections end in Iran

Polling stations in Iran closed, ending parliamentary elections on Friday.

The parliamentary elections in Iran started at 8.00 (7.30 Moscow time) and were supposed to end at 18.00 (17.30 Moscow time), but voting in several districts was repeatedly prolonged – as stated by the authorities, due to the large number of voters at the polls.

Voting ended at midnight (23.30 Moscow time) – the time which, as stated by the official representative of the headquarters for the conduct of the elections, Esmail Mousavi, is the limit.

In the morning, officials reported on the queues at many polling stations, and state-run late-night television broadcast live footage of polling stations in various cities with Iranian voters.

The elections were generally calm, but with enhanced security measures, although law enforcement officers did not report any serious incidents, and state authorities pointed out the absence of significant violations.

“I was in direct contact with the provinces, I learned from the leaders of our divisions there how the elections are held. Fortunately, so far we have not had any serious violations, there were various questions, but they did not affect the elections”, – said Abbas Ali Kadhodai, Speaker of the Constitutional Council, overseeing the election. His statement was broadcast by state television in the evening.

At the same time, Iranian media reported the detention of several dozen people for the purchase and sale of votes in the elections. Thus, Mehr reported the detention of 30 people in the city of Pakdasht near Tehran, a number of news portals also reported the detention of nine people in Babol in northern Iran.

In the parliamentary elections, more than 7 thousand people are fighting for 290 seats, whose candidatures have been approved by the Constitution Protection Council. In addition, mid-term elections to the Council of Experts, a body with the right to appoint the supreme leader of Iran, are held in parallel.
Initially, more than 15 thousand people were candidates for participation in the parliamentary elections, some of them withdrew from the election, a significant part, including a number of current deputies, were not confirmed by the Council for the Protection of the Constitution.

The elections are held in a difficult environment for Iran under US economic pressure and will decide, according to experts, who will lead the parliament – reformists who are supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and currently constitute the majority in parliament, or conservatives and opponents of the government’s course.