Low turnout as conservatives dominate Iran parliamentery vote | Elections News

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The elections were the first since nationwide protests broke out in 2022 over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Conservative politicians will dominate Iran’s parliament, according to election results, maintaining their hold on the Islamic Consultative Assembly in a vote that saw a record-low turnout amid boycott calls.

The country saw a voter turnout of 41 percent in Friday’s elections for the national legislature and Assembly of Experts, the lowest participation since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to results released on Monday.

The vote was the first since nationwide protests broke out in 2022 over the death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s so-called morality police.

Iranian authorities responded to the demonstrations with a violent crackdown and mass detentions, international human rights groups said.

The elections barred many moderates and reformists from running and took place as Iran suffers under crippling sanctions.

“Around 25 million people participated with a turnout of 41 percent,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said at a news conference in Tehran.

Vahidi said the vote took place “despite the ill-wishers of the nation, including intelligence services and terrorist groups, trying very hard to undermine security”.

Of the 290 seats in parliament, 45 will go to a second round of voting to be held in either April or May, according to a spokesperson for Iran’s elections authority, Mohsen Eslami.

An Iranian man shows his ink-stained finger after casting his ballot at a polling station in Tehran during elections to select members of parliament and a key clerical body [Atta Kenare/AFP]

All 88 seats in the Assembly of Experts, which selects Iran’s supreme leader, were chosen, Eslami said.

On the day of the elections, parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf had urged voters to call “their friends or acquaintances right now and convince them to participate in the elections”.

While it was unclear whether turnout was low due to voter apathy or due to a desire to send a message to Iran’s theocracy, some Iranians had pushed for a boycott, including imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi.

The lowest previous turnout was in the parliamentary elections in 2020, which saw a 42 percent turnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 62 percent of voters participated in 2016.

Iran election
Iranian women cast their ballots in Tehran on March 1, 2024 [Atta Kenare/AFP]

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