Iran says voter turnout of parliamentary elections hits 42.57 pct

Clay Curtis
February 26, 2020

By comparison, the 2016 parliamentary election saw 62 per cent turnout.

The big picture: More than 7,000 potential parliamentary candidates were disqualified from running, majority reformists and moderates. Amongst these disqualified have been 90 sitting members of Iran's 290-seat parliament who had wished to run for re-election.

Poll workers empty full ballot boxes after the parliamentary election voting time ended in Tehran, Iran February 22, 2020.

The election showed a loss of faith in the system, Rafsanjani contended, and that "Iranian hardliners are getting stronger".

The first cases of COVID-19 infection were reported in Iran on Wednesday, and on the same day, it was announced that two elderly people had died from the virus in the Shiite holy city of Qom.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaks on the coronavirus cases and last week's elections in Tehran on Sunday. "Because I don't see any future in these elections". He urged Europe to resist US pressure.

He said that in such a scenario "the turnout rate seems perfectly acceptable for us".

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been high since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew the USA from Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers, and imposed sanctions that have forced Iran's economy into recession.

Rouhani says Iran will never hold talks with U.S. Authorities initially tried to cover up the cause of the crash.

With many well-known Reformists barred from running, the vote will ultimately be a contest between conservative and hard-line candidates, both of whom will likely work overtime to undo the policies of moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Though voting numbers were low, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday voters came to polls in a "huge participation" despite "negative propaganda" by foreign media.

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The hospital, which has around 600 patients and staff, has been closed and patients are being transferred to other facilities. The hospital and Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu have been linked to almost 60 confirmed COVID-19 patients this week.

The officials targeted ahead of Friday's vote include Ahmad Jannati, a 92-year-old cleric who, according to the Treasury Department, oversaw the disqualification of almost half the 16,033 potential candidates including dozens of sitting MPs.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticised the election as a "sham" and a vote that is "not free or fair". "Across Iran, over 24 million people voted".

"We are now even more determined to safeguard the people's vote", he added. Nearly half, or 48%, were women.

In Tehran, the largest constituency where 30 parliamentary seats are up for grabs, the leading candidate was Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, a former police chief and member of the IRGC who served as mayor from 2005 to 2017.

The vote took place as concerns over the virus' spread began to rise.

JUST IN: FCO travel warning: Is Italy safe as coronavirus spreads? Authorities have additionally suspended soccer matches and stopped exhibits in film theaters and different venues.

Masks, sanitizers and plastic gloves have become scarce or their prices have soared in many drug stores in the capital due to high demand. Iranians long for stability after a succession of political and economic crises. Coronavirus-infected travellers from Iran already have been discovered in Lebanon and Canada.

Maryam, however, said she is anxious about Iran's isolation from the rest of the world.

"We face years more of sanctions", a shopper in Tehran told The Guardian.

Participation was held back by the powerful Guardian Council's disqualification of hundreds of moderates and reformists, Mr Rouhani's loss of political credibility as the U.S. reimposed sanctions and a reported surge in coronavirus cases in Iran.

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