Conservative Victory in Iran’s Parliamentary Elections Amidst Low Turnout
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Iranians voted at Lorzadeh Mosque polling station in southern Tehran on Friday. Turnout of 43% was down from 62% in the 2016 vote and the lowest in the Islamic Republic’s history. PHOTO: ROUZBEH FOULADI/ZUMA PRESS

By Tehran Correspondent

Tehran, March 2 – Preliminary results from Iran’s parliamentary elections on Saturday indicate a decisive triumph for conservative candidates. The anticipated outcome stems from the substantial disqualification of reformist contenders. This electoral development marks the first since the 2022 protests ignited by the tragic death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

Data from the Interior Ministry, as reported by the official IRNA news agency, reveals that of the initial 129 scrutinized parliamentary seats, conservatives secured 99, while reformists claimed 17. Additionally, 13 seats will undergo a runoff as candidates fail to secure a minimum of 20 percent of votes in their respective constituencies.

This election, with a historical context tied to the protests following Amini’s death, recorded a voter turnout of approximately 41 percent, marking the lowest in the history of the Islamic Republic.

Conservatives dominated the elections, capitalizing on the disqualification of numerous reformist candidates by the Guardian Council, responsible for vetting laws and political aspirants. Despite calls for boycotts from politicians and activists, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, the elections proceeded with 15,200 candidates—1,713 of whom were women—competing for the 290 parliamentary seats.

An additional aspect of the elections involved 144 clerics vying for the 88 seats in the Assembly of Experts, the body responsible for electing the Supreme Leader in the event of a vacancy. Given that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is 84, this term could be particularly impactful for the Assembly of Experts.

The reported 41 percent voter turnout among the 61 million eligible voters contrasts with the 42.5 percent recorded in the 2020 legislative elections, marking a continued decline in participation. Historically, the Islamic Republic has emphasized high voter turnout as evidence of its legitimacy and popular support.

President Ebrahim Raisi remarked on the elections, describing the Iranian people’s participation as “a blow to the stubborn opponents” of the country. In a statement released by IRNA, Raisi linked this turnout to the resolve displayed by Iranians in the face of challenges, reminiscent of the historic blow received by opponents during the riots following Mahsa Amini’s death.

The protests following Amini’s death, triggered by her arrest for improper veil use, were quelled by a police crackdown that resulted in 500 casualties, marking a somber chapter in recent Iranian history.

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