Good turnout forces Iranian voting time extension in UAE

Good turnout forces Iranian voting time extension in UAE Amira Agarib / 15 June 2013 A four-hour voting extension was put to good use by some of the hundreds of UAE-based Iranian citizens who voted in Friday’s election, which put an end to the tenure of longtime incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. An official at the Embassy in Abu Dhabi said that everything had proceeded well, with all security measures provided by police officers and voters casting a ballot for one of the eligible six candidates freely. Voting took place at the Iranian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Consulate General in Dubai and Exhibition Centre in Sharjah from 8am. Voting was extended three times in an effort to allow more people their democratic right, with voting finally closing at 9pm at the heavily policed diplomatic missions, with more than 10 police officers checking citizenship before allowing voters entry at the Consulate General building in Dubai. A Khaleej Times photographer saw dozens of voters turn up in the dying minutes of the election at the Consulate General in Dubai, though a spokesman was unable to give a number. The spokesman told Khaleej Times on Friday evening that a result would be expected by tomorrow, in which a replacement to the controversial Ahmadinejad who has come to the end of the two terms he is constitutionally eligible for, would be announced. “There’s been a good turnout, the people are coming…but we need time…to collect the votes,” he said. “(By Sunday) I hope we’ll be finished with the election.” No violations had been recorded either. Thirty-five-year-old Iranian Hassan Ali said that people were very excited and wanted to participate in the first presidential poll since the 2009 contest. People should respect the results of the election and do their best to bring prosperity to their country, he said. However, Mohamed N. said that many people had not registered and were seemingly indifferent, while others were scared to even express their political opinions. He said for expatriates, it was very difficult to have an opinion as many did not properly know the six presidential candidates, though the large number of Iranians in the UAE meant the votes of UAE-based Iranians were vital in determining who was going to win. Taylor Scott International

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