Presidential Vote Count To be Announced Gradually in May 2017 Elections
The authority in charge of counting ballots in Iran’s presidential election has backed down from its initial decision to announce the winner after all votes have been counted.
“The Interior Ministry actually agrees that it is more practical to report the vote count gradually,” said Assistant Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Moghimi on May 17, two days before Iranians vote for their next president and local councils.
Moghimi explained that according to Article 31 of the Presidential Election Law, the Interior Ministry must announce the “result” of the election and not the “results.”
“We will confer with the Guardian Council, and after resolving the legal issues, the vote count will be gradually announced to the honorable people of Iran,” he added.
Previously, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said during a televised interview with state TV on May 16 that there was no legal obligation to inform the public every step of the way.
“The way the process is step up,” said Fazli, “is that the vote count from each constituency will be collected and after the local monitoring boards sign off on them, they will be sent to the Guardian Council and the Interior Ministry to check their accuracy and add them together.”
“After being validated by the Guardian Council and the Interior Ministry, the final count will be announced by the interior minister,” he added.
According to Tehran-based attorney Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee, the interior minister’s interpretation of the law is illogical.
“The law does not oblige the Interior Ministry to announce the vote count moment by moment, but it does not forbid gradual announcements either,” said Tabatabaee in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“If they announced it gradually in previous elections, they should give a reason why it should be different this time,” he said.
“To have greater transparency, it is necessary to announce the count gradually,” he added. “I don’t think there’s any logic in the interior minister’s statement and I doubt the Guardian Council will agree with it.”
Under Article 99 of Iran’s Constitution, “The Guardian Council has the responsibility of supervising the elections of the Assembly of Experts for Leadership, the President of the Republic, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and the direct recourse to popular opinion and referenda.”
The spokesman for the supervising body, Abbasali Kadkhodaie, responded to the interior minister’s interpretation by saying the council would prefer votes be reported to the public in steps.
“That’s our recommendation and we are discussing the matter with the Interior Ministry so that the votes will be announced gradually in this election as well,” he said on May 17.
In the previous 2005, 2009 and 2013 presidential elections, the results of the ballot counts were announced live on state television as they became available from the provinces.
After the 2009 election, there were discrepancies and glaring mistakes in the numbers reported by state TV before the final result was announced, prompting many analysts to discredit the final tally.
For example, the vote count share of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was declared the winner of 2009’s widely disputed election, remained constant at 63 percent from start to finish.