Ayatollah Khamenei

The ninth round of parliamentary elections began in Iran today amidst a widespread boycott of the process by reformist groups and the opposition.

Islamic Republic media began the day by writing about “the energetic presence of the people” at the voting stations.

Ayatollah Khamenei cast his ballot today, once again inviting people to join the elections and adding that those who participate will be “considered more virtuous in the eye of the creator.”

Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announced: “We have received reports from all across the country saying people had lined up at the voting stations long before polls opened.”

At no time in the history of the Islamic Republic has an election been the target of such a widespread boycott by so many political groups. Almost all reformists and opposition groups are shunning the elections.

They have described the elections as “undemocratic” and maintain that after the heavy crackdown on the protests against the 2009 presidential elections, which were marred by allegations of vote fraud, the arrest and intimidation of the opposition has been intensified, and there are no prospects for an open political atmosphere that would lead to free and meaningful elections.

The opposition and several reformist groups have called on Iranian voters to stay in their homes today and sit out the elections.

Meanwhile, conservatives have been fragmented into several different groups, and all efforts to unite them have failed.

Solat Mortazavi, the head of the election headquarters, has said that the results from smaller polls will be announced within 48 hours, while it could take up to 72 hours for larger polls.