Friday, June 25, 2004

Mohammad Reza Bahonar was not concerned about a possible low turnout in elections

Brief on Iran, Vol. II, No. 9: "Mullahs' Official Attempts to Justify Expected Low Turnout in Friday Polls, Reuters, October 19
TEHRAN - A leading Iranian conservative said on Monday his faction was not concerned about a possible low turnout in elections for a powerful state body later this week.
'If the number of participants shows an increase proportionate to the population growth since the last elections, then elections will have been successful,' parliament deputy Mohammad Reza Bahonar told a news conference.
Bahonar said a lower turnout in Friday's elections to the Assembly of Experts, which names and can dismiss Iran's supreme leader, compared to presidential or parliamentary elections would be justified because the importance of the Assembly was not self-evident to the people.
'The Assembly holds sessions only once a year and for just one week,' Bahonar said. 'Its commissions do not have open activities, so people do not feel a daily need for it.'
Nevertheless, Iran's conservatives have launched a major political and media campaign to encourage people to vote as a sign of continued support for Iran's Islamic government.
Officials say about 39 million Iranians aged 15 and over are eligible to vote in the elections to the 86-seat Assembly. "


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