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Iran Parliamentary Election Kicks Off, Leader Casts Vote in Early Minutes

Polling stations across the country opened at 8:00 a.m. (0430 GMT) on Friday and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei was among the first to cast his ballot. Speaking after casting his vote, the Leader said, “These elections mark a day of national celebration and I have to congratulate all my fellow countrymen across the country on this occasion.” “Secondly, the day of elections is the day of the fulfillment of the civil rights of the people which seek to vote and participate in determining the future of the country, as they are entitled to,” the Leader added. “Thirdly, it is a religious obligation and the truth is that it is elections which guarantee the national interests of the country and anyone who is interested in the national interests of the country should vote,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. The Leader urged voters to turn out early in the day and to vote based on the number of total competing candidates in any given city. Ayatollah Khamenei concluded his remarks by praying for the country and also thanking the media for covering the event. Campaigns officially started Thursday last week and the candidates had one week to win the people’s support for their candidacy. The voting on Friday comes after a 24-hour silence period in which candidates were prohibited from campaign activities. More than 7,000 candidates are competing to enter the parliament. A winning candidate must have at least 20 percent of the votes cast in their constituency in order to become lawmaker for a four-year term. A total of 57,918,000 people are eligible to cast their ballots. There would be one lawmaker at Majlis per each 190,000-strong segment of the Iranian population. Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Wednesday that a total of 55,000 polling stations and over 200 constituencies have been prepared across the country’s 31 provinces for the people to cast their votes.

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