Tehran, Feb 23 (IANS) Hardliners are set to win Iran’s parliamentary election, where voting – only 42.6 per cent – was the lowest turnout since the 1979 revolution, reports said on Sunday.1
There were the first elections after the US re-imposed the crippling sanctions.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, described Friday’s turnout as stunning, claiming Iran’s enemies had tried to put people off voting by exaggerating the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC reported.
“This negative propaganda about the virus began a couple of months ago and grew larger ahead of the election,” he said, according to his official website Khamenei.ir.
Meanwhile the outbreak has worsened, with 43 confirmed cases and eight deaths. Schools, universities and cultural centres across 14 provinces have been closed. Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkey have closed their borders with Iran, and Afghanistan has suspended air and road travel to and from Iran.
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said the low turnout was “completely acceptable” in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, bad weather and recent protests as well as the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane last month.
He said the turnout in Tehran was just 25.4 per cent, with conservatives loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei winning all 30 seats.
Former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf topped the list, and is expected to become the next parliamentary Speaker.