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Business News/ Elections / Iran gears up for crucial elections amid high voter apathy, declining value of Rial, nationwide protests | 10 facts
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Iran gears up for crucial elections amid high voter apathy, declining value of Rial, nationwide protests | 10 facts

Iran's upcoming elections mark first polls since 2022 protests. Iran prepares for elections to choose political and religious leaders amid voter apathy and challenges. The polls follow deadly protests and coincide with Israel's war on Gaza.

Iranians ride on a motorcycle past campaign posters for the parliamentary election during the last day of election campaigning in Tehran, Iran (via REUTERS)Premium
Iranians ride on a motorcycle past campaign posters for the parliamentary election during the last day of election campaigning in Tehran, Iran (via REUTERS)

Iran votes tomorrow, 1 March Friday, to elect the political and religious leaders who will then choose the next supreme leader. Tens of millions of people are eligible to vote, but voter apathy remains high in Iran as the country faces a multitude of challenges following a tumultuous period since the last parliamentary elections in 2020.

This will be the first elections in Iran since the nationwide anti-government protests of 2022 that were triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini.

The previous election in Iran in 2019 were held after major protests. This 2024 polls have dawned upon the nation in the aftermath of the deadly September 2022 nationwide protests, which lasted for months and reverberated across the globe.

The elections for the 12th parliament and the sixth Assembly of Experts on Friday are also taking place as Israel’s war on Gaza has openly pitted the “axis of resistance" of political and military groups across the region backed by Tehran against the US.

Iran Elections: 10 facts

-More than 61.2 million people are eligible to vote in a country of roughly 85 million.

-Polls will open across Iran at 8am local time (04:30 GMT) and will remain open for 10 hours as per the law. In the past, time for voting has always been extended, sometimes going past midnight when there is demand.

-The votes cast on Friday in Iran will determine the 290 lawmakers who will make up the parliament for the next four years.

-Votes will also be cast for 88 clerics who will each take a seat for eight years at the Assembly of Experts, which is tasked with selecting the country’s supreme leader.

-The incumbent lawmakers – comprising mostly conservatives and hardliners – were elected to parliament in a February 2020 election that saw a 42-percent turnout, the lowest since the establishment of the Islamic republic after Iran’s 1979 revolution.

-Voter turnout is expected to be lowest tomorrow as voter frustration with the Iranian government has surged with increasing dominance of ‘moral police’, declining economy, mass protests, Iran's stance on Israel-Gaza war and Russian-Ukraine war

-Iran’s national currency, the rial, has been slipping since the start of 2024, and was trading at approximately 585,000 to the US dollar on Thursday, having lost more than 15 percent of its value this year.

-In Iran, candidates for the presidency, parliament and Assembly of Experts must be approved by the Guardian Council, a body of clerics and jurists in which individuals appointed by the current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, play a significant role.

-In the upcoming parliamentary election, a record 15,200 candidates have been allowed by the Guardian Council to stand for the 290 seats. However, only 30 candidates from the reformist camp who applied have been approved - a notably low number.

-Iran’s clerical rulers are seeking a big turnout to shore up their legitimacy, damaged following months of mass protests ignited by the death in custody of a young woman in 2022.

-Iran’s parliament has little say in the formulation of the country’s foreign policy and is mostly tasked with rules affecting local affairs, with issues related to the economy regularly at the top of the agenda

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 09:30 PM IST
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