Abbasali Kadkhodayi

Computerized voting will be put to the test at 14 polls in tomorrow’s election, says Abbasali Khadkhodayi, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council, a government body that oversees elections.

At a press conference today, he said 14 of the 217 polls will be a testing ground for computerized voting in this round of elections. But he stressed this is only a test that will run parallel to the established method of voting.

Khadkhodayi added that 30 current MPs have been disqualified from running in the election. He maintained that three MPs have been linked to the $3-billion bank fraud, and the rest have been eliminated for other reasons.

Kadkhodayi responded to a Lebanese reporter’s question about “some statements regarding the necessity for foreign observers of the Iranian elections”, saying that such measures may be appropriate for regions where “the fate of the people is not in their hands and, in effect, such statements are an insult to the Iranian people’s intelligence.”

Kadkhodayi added: “The Guardian Council is prepared to offer its own observers to international institutions to cooperate in countries that need foreign observers.”

The Guardian Council spokesman said 5,382 people had nominated themselves for candidacy, of whom 1,130 were deemed eligible.

Reformist groups and prominent figures say they will boycott the elections, because authorities cannot guarantee open and transparent elections in the current atmosphere of political oppression.

Kadkhodayi also commented on the record-setting participation of women in the elections.

Parliamentary elections will take place tomorrow, March 2.