Iran Counts Election Ballots, Which Seem to Favor Conservatives

Following a vote for parliament and a significant ecclesiastical body, a started tallying votes on Saturday. The local media predicted a low turnout, and conservatives were predicted to win. The polls on Friday marked the first since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in police custody in September 2022, sparking huge demonstrations. She was detained on suspicion of disobeying the rigorous dress code that governs women in the Islamic republic. Since the most recent elections in 2020, Iran has also been severely impacted by foreign sanctions that have caused an economic crisis.

 

Following polling places’ midnight closure, State TV said early on Saturday that the “start of vote counting” had begun. Multiple times during the day, the official IRNA news agency stated that the voting hours had been extended. There were a record 15,200 candidates vying for 290 seats in the parliament. An additional 144 applicants vied for seats in the 88-member Assembly of Experts, which is composed only of Muslim men experts. Iran’s supreme leader is chosen by the Assembly and may be removed if needed. Numerous aspirants to the chamber were ruled ineligible. Out of 61 million eligible voters, the local Fars news agency anticipated that “more than 40 percent” would cast ballots.

 

As “another historic failure to (Iran’s) enemies,” President Ebrahim Raisi greeted the “enthusiastic” voter turnout, according to IRNA. Iran views Israel, the United States, and its Western allies as state foes and charges them of attempting to meddle in its domestic affairs. In an editorial piece headed “The Silent Majority,” the reformist daily Ham Mihan stated that voter turnout was “estimated to be lower than” in prior elections. With the lowest voter turnout since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, 42.57 percent of voters cast ballots for Iran’s 2020 parliament during the COVID pandemic. More than half of respondents to a state TV survey said they had no opinion about this year’s elections.

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