The head of Iran's Revolutionary Courts Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali -- the man who called for the assassination of the ousted Shah -- has failed to win election to the 75-member council charged with approving a new constitution.
TEHERAN, IRAN (AUGUST 4, 1979) (REUTERS)
GV: Crowds at polling station. (2 shots)
CU: People voting.
MV: People checking voters documents.
CU: Clerks checking documents and stamping papers.
HIGH ANGLE SHOT: Looking down onto Polling station.
CU: Veiled women checking in at polling station.
MV: People manning polling co-ordination point (3 shots)
CU: Hashem Sabbaghian, Minister of Interior talking with officials.
MV: Girls telephonists.
MV: Man preparing election lists. (2 shots)
CU: Man sticking up electors names. (2 shots)
MV: Results beginning to appear on wall.
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Background: The head of Iran's Revolutionary Courts Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali -- the man who called for the assassination of the ousted Shah -- has failed to win election to the 75-member council charged with approving a new constitution. Ayatollah Khalkhali had based his election campaign on the fact that as head of the courts, he'd sent about two hundred people to the firing squad, including former ministers and army generals. Voting in the election began on Friday (3 August) amid calls by several key parties for people to boycott the polls.
The call for a boycott of polling stations came from the Moslem People's Republican Party (MRRP) and secular national Front.. two of Irans most important political groups. Both parties wanted to see the election postponed for at least three weeks, claiming that present conditions would not permit a free and fair vote. They said the government had failed to overcome what they termed 'the prevailing atmosphere of oppression'.
Despite the announced boycott the government maintained the MPRP had contested the election with all its force. However, it was apparent that some voters chose to stay away.
The government conceded the turnout was lower than in the referendum last March which established Iran as an Islamic Republic.
At the close of voting it was clear the majority of the 75-seats had been won by religious candidates backed by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Ayatollah said voting would be considered an act of worship.
Replying to allegations of election irregularities, Iran's Interior Minister Hashem Sabbaghian, said all complaints would be investigated. Many candidates said they were concerned over the domination of the proceedings by the Islamic Republican Party...Iran's biggest political group dominated by Khomeini supporters.
Another complaint concerned the fact that many Iranians are illiterate and the ballot papers they had to use were blank. Voters had to write down their choice or bring along someone who would do it for them. Some candidates claimed this seriously affected the accuracy of the vote.
Despite the claims of election rigging the result is still being seen as a victory for Ayatollah Khomeini. The new council now has one month to approve a constitution replacing the old Monarchist charter.