64 Percent or 54 Percent?
Yesterday, in a press conference in Tehran, Iran’s Interior Minister Brig. Gen. Mustafa Mohammad Najjar told reporters that 26,472,760 citizens cast their votes in the nationwide elections for the Ninth Majlis. The minister’s remarks were widely distributed and also appeared on the Interior Ministry’s website. Two weeks ago, Gen. Najjar had officially announced the number of eligible voters nationwide at 48,288,799. Considering that the Interior Ministry is in charge of the elections in Iran, these figures are as official as they can get.
Now let’s see what the percentage of those voted is to those eligible to vote, or otherwise the turnout: 26,472,760/48,288,799= 54%.
The trouble is that the minister himself has calculated and announced the turnout to be at 64%, a figure widely quoted by the media, including by this lowly blogger. The government has also used the figure to declare a moral victory of sort over the opposition. But didn’t they just add 10% to the actual turnout?
In the elections in Tehran, there was also an odd development: the eligible voters reported were 2.5 million people less than the number for the Eight Majlis in 2008. Considering the rapid growth of the population in Tehran, this statistic does not seem correct. As a result, the Interior Minister’s report that 48% of eligible voters in Tehran turned out in the polling stations seems also to be inflated.