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Business News/ News / World/  Iran Elections 2024: Iranian conservatives sweep polls amid record low turnout | 10 Updates
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Iran Elections 2024: Iranian conservatives sweep polls amid record low turnout | 10 Updates

Iranian conservatives dominated recent elections for key bodies amidst record low turnout, with concerns over disqualification of candidates and economic crisis.

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian cleric casts his vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Tehran, Iran, March 1, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo (via REUTERS)Premium
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian cleric casts his vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Tehran, Iran, March 1, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo (via REUTERS)

Iranian conservatives dominated the majority of seats in elections for a clerical body and the national legislature on Sunday, as reported by AFP citing local media.

The turnout was estimated to be at a record low. Here are the top ten updates.

1. Authorities continued to tally ballots two days after Friday's vote for members of parliament and the Assembly of Experts, responsible for selecting Iran's supreme leader. This election marked the first since protests erupted following the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who was arrested for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women.

2. The election, marred by a vetting process that disqualified numerous candidates, occurred against the backdrop of Iran grappling with a severe economic crisis exacerbated by international sanctions.

Also Read: Iran's elections today: Litmus test as Iranians head to vote for parliamentary polls

3. The official IRNA news agency estimated the turnout at approximately “41 per cent" among the 61 million eligible voters. However, no official figure had been announced at the time. 

4. The reformist daily Shargh predicted that the next parliament would be in the hands of radical conservatives who “took advantage of the opportunity created by the low participation".

5. Etemad, a reformist newspaper, indicated that turnout was lower in Iran's larger cities compared to smaller ones and highlighted a significant number of “blank votes." Concerns regarding a low turnout had been circulating prior to the elections, particularly after a state TV poll revealed that more than half of the respondents expressed indifference towards the elections, AFP reported.

6. Turnout in the capital Tehran was reported to be approximately 25 percent, as per Iranian media sources. They also stated that ultraconservative candidates managed to secure 12 out of the 30 parliamentary seats allocated to the capital. “Some seats have gone to a second round, which will take place in either April or May," IRNA reported.

Also Read: EU honours Mahsa Amini, whose death triggered protests against Iran's Islamic theocracy

7. The pro-government Iran Daily said authorities should see the low turnout as a “wake-up call and redouble their efforts to fortify their support base". Reformist daily Ham Mihan said that “the soul of the elections was lost" and that turnout was "far from victorious" which could have “political repercussions" for Iran's system, AFP reported.

8. As reported by AFP, political analyst Mohammad Mohajeri suggested that conservatives and ultraconservatives would be the primary beneficiaries of the elections due to a “sharp decline in the participation rate".

9. A record high of 15,200 candidates competed for seats in the 290-member parliament. Additionally, 144 candidates contended for positions in the 88-member Assembly of Experts, an institution exclusively composed of male Islamic scholars.  Iran's parliament in 2020 was elected amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with a turnout of 42.57 per cent. This marked the lowest turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution at that time.

Also Read: Hijab row: Iran's parliament approves stricter headscarf law, imposes punishments clause

10. Former moderate president Hassan Rouhani cast his ballot on Friday despite his disqualification from running for the Assembly of Experts after 24 years of membership. According to the Reform Front, a coalition of parties, another former president, the reformist Mohammad Khatami, was among those who abstained from voting. In February, Khatami had said on his official website that Iran is “very far from free and competitive elections".

(With inputs from AFP)

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Published: 04 Mar 2024, 09:50 AM IST
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