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Guardian Council Wins; Vote Results To Be Announced Gradually

Counting votes after parliamentary elections in Iran, Saturday February 27, 2016.

The stark disagreement between the interior ministry and the Guardian Council on whether vote results should be announced gradually or just once has been resolved. The Guardian Council has prevailed.

On Wednesday, May 17, hours after the spokesperson of the Guardian Council advised the government to announce results gradually, the interior ministry made a U turn and said that they have accepted the council's viewpoint.

A day earlier, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had said the May 19 final election results will be announced in one step. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Guardian Council disagreed with the government.

“We propose to the Interior Ministry that, considering the sensitive nature of presidential elections, the results should be announced gradually,” Abbas Ali Kadkhodaie said, without further elaboration.

Fazli had employed a similar argument the day before, when he argued for a one-step, final announcement.

The Guardian Council oversees vote counting and approves the final tally. The Interior Ministry is in charge of organizing the election and also controls the process of vote counting locally, bringing together the final tally based on numbers arriving from the provinces. The two bodies then compare their numbers and approve the final tally. The Guardian Council has three to five observers in every election precinct.

In past presidential elections, the results were announced as the votes were counted. But in 2009, shortly after the polls closed, the official government news agency IRNA claimed Mahmud Ahmadinejad had received 63 percent of the vote, which led to public outrage and days of unrest. Later, when the final results were announced, the same percentage held.

The Guardian Council and the Interior Ministry even disagreed on what the law says. The ministry said that, based on the law, results should be announced in one go, while Kadkhodaie insisted the law does not require it.

In response to a question by the Justice Department’s Mizan news agency, he explained that the law only requires results be worked out between the responsible organs -- meaning the Guardian Council, as observers, and the Interior Ministry as organizers of the election.

More than 56 million Iranians are eligible to vote in Iran’s 12th presidential election, ILNA reported, quoting Ali Asghar Ahmadi, head of the Election Headquarters of the Interior Ministry.

If none of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of the votes, a run-off will be held on May 26.

The turnout in the last presidential election in 2013 was 72.77 percent of the eligible population. Rouhani won the last election by 50.88 percent of the popular vote.

Campaigning ended on Thursday morning at 8:00 local time.