Iran’s reformist ex-president calls on supporters to vote
Iran’s reformist ex-president has called on Iranians to cast their vote in the upcoming election despite a ban preventing many reformist candidates from running.
In a statement issued late Monday Mohammad Khatami called on his supporters to vote in the Feb. 26 parliamentary elections to serve the national interest.
He said that although it is disappointing that “capable” and “deserving figures” have been disqualified, people should vote because “massive participation” and “heated elections” are in their interest.
Khatami remains influential among reformist Iranians, and particularly among young people and women, although state media is banned from publishing his comments.
In past elections, large turnouts have led to a greater number of seats for pro-reform candidates.
On Saturday the Guardian Council, Iran’s hard-line constitutional watchdog, reversed a ban on 1,500 parliamentary candidates. It is unclear how many of these are reformists. In total, some 6,200 candidates will now be running for Iran’s 290-seat parliament.
Pro-reform and moderate parties had issued a statement last month complaining that only 30 of the 3,000 reformist candidates fielded across the country were allowed to run.
The elections are expected to be a show-down between hard-liners and moderates, who are hoping for an electoral boost following the newly-implemented nuclear deal and the lifting of international sanctions.