22 June 2009

Not one iota of evidence George? Press TV report may indicate otherwise!

George Galloway’s confident assertions that the Iranian elections were as free, fair and as transparent as the finest glass money can buy are perhaps undermined a tad by a news item on Press TV, the Iranian news channel he works for.

My thanks go to Bryan of Why Now? for drawing my attention to this item. (Why Now? is always well worth a read)

Press TV reports that Iran's Guardian Council has indicated that the number of votes collected in 50 cities surpass the number of people eligible to cast ballot in those areas.

The council's Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei -- a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.

"Statistics provided by the candidates, who claim more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 80-170 cities are not accurate -- the incident has happened in only 50 cities," Kadkhodaei said.

Kadkhodaei further explained that the voter turnout of above 100% in some cities is a normal phenomenon because there is no legal limitation for people to vote for the presidential elections in another city or province to which people often travel or commute.

The spokesman, however, said that although the vote tally affected by such issues could be over 3 million and would not noticeably affect the outcome of the election.

He, however, added that the council could, at the request of the candidates, re-count the affected ballot boxes, and determine " whether the possible change in the tally is decisive in the election results,"

Rezaei, along with Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, reported more than 646 'irregularities' in the electoral process and submitted their complaints to the body responsible for overseeing the election -- the Guardian Council.

Mousavi and Karroubi have called on the council to nullify Friday's vote and hold the election anew. This is while President Ahmadinejad and his Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli have rejected any possibility of fraud, saying that the election was free and fair.

Just 50 cities then? Well call me a pedant but irregularities in even 50 cities is a major cause for concern and surely a good reason for a rerun of the election. If 3 million votes can be affected than why not 11 million?

It looks to me that the Guardian Council are covering their backs. They have indeed highlighted a number of irregularities so in their mind they have discharged their duties and life can return to normal.

The problem is that a lot of the people of Iran (certainly and not just the “gilded youth” or “liberal elites” as Milne and Galloway describe them) are not fooled. This may not transfer to further large scale protests at present but there is a huge reservoir of resentment will boil over again at some stage, perhaps very soon

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