Iran counts ballots in vote seen favouring conservatives

Mar2,2024



Tehran: iran started counting ballot paper after one on saturday vote For Parliament and a major clerical bodyLocal media is estimating less Being present And traditionalists Expected to dominate.
Friday's elections were the first in September 2022 following widespread protests following the death in police custody of 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini. She was arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.
Iran has also been badly hit by international sanctions leading to an economic crisis since its last elections in 2020.
State TV reported “vote counting has begun” after polling stations closed at midnight early Saturday. The official IRNA news agency reported that voting hours were extended several times during the day.
A record 15,200 candidates were competing for seats in the 290-member parliament. Another 144 candidates sought a place in the 88-member Assembly of Experts, which is composed exclusively of male Islamic scholars.
The assembly selects or dismisses Iran's supreme leader if necessary. Many potential candidates for the Chamber were disqualified.
The local Fars news agency estimated turnout at “more than 40 percent” among 61 million eligible voters.
According to IRNA, President Ebrahim Raisi welcomed the voters' “enthusiastic” participation as “another historic failure for (Iran's) enemies”.
Iran considers the United States, its Western allies, and Israel as state enemies and accuses them of interfering in its internal affairs.
Reformist daily Haim Meehan ran an opinion article titled “The Silent Majority”, stating that turnout was “projected to be lower” than in previous elections.
Iran's 2020 parliament was elected during the COVID pandemic with a voter turnout of 42.57 percent – the lowest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
A state TV poll found that more than half of respondents were indifferent to this year's elections.
Candidates for parliament are vetted by a body, the Guardian Council, whose members are determined by the Supreme Leader.
The current parliament is dominated by conservatives and ultra-conservatives, and analysts expect a similar situation in the new assembly.
Despite Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's appeal for people to vote, many Iranians were divided on whether they should do so.
Former reformist President Mohammad Khatami was among those who abstained, according to a coalition of parties called the Reform Front.
In February, the conservative Javan daily quoted Khatami as saying that Iran was “far from free and competitive elections.”



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