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Low Poll Turnout in Iran, Coronavirus Blamed

Sunday 23 February 2020

TEHRAN, DUBAI (Satrapia, Reuters) — Iran has announced a 42% participation rate in its parliamentary elections, the lowest official turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, while the country’s Supreme Guide said that enemies of Iran have exploited the new coronavirus fear to discourage people from voting.

Khamenei, who on Friday said that voting was “a religious duty”, blamed the low turnout on the “negative propaganda” about the new coronavirus by Iran’s enemies. “This negative propaganda about the virus began a couple of months ago and grew larger ahead of the election”, said Khamenei, according to his official website Khamenei.ir. “Their media did not miss the tiniest opportunity for dissuading Iranian voters and resorting to the excuse of disease and the virus.”

Accordiing to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli the turnout across the country was 42.57%, in Tehran, around 25%. Across Iran, over 24 mln people voted. Turnout was 62% in the 2016 parliamentary vote and 66% of voters cast ballots in 2012.

The final results, announced by the Interior Ministry, showed big gains by loyalists close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last say on all state matters.

In Tehran, a list of hardliners gained 30 seats for the capital, with former commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, topping the list. Qalibaf’s pedigree as the Guards’ air force commander, a war veteran and a national police chief has endeared him to Iran’s supreme leader, bolstering his chances of becoming the next parliament speaker.


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