TEHRAN – Iran’s conservatives will dominate the country’s new parliament following an election marked by the lowest voter turnout in decades, according to state media.
Two days after the polls closed, an Al Jazeera tally based on interior ministry results published on Sunday by state media said conservative candidates had secured at least 219 seats in the 290-strong parliament, also known as the Majlis.
With 11 seats set to be contested in a second round in April, the new parliament will also comprise of at least 20 reformists and 35 independents. Five seats are guaranteed for the country’s religious minorities: Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrians, Chaldean Christians and Armenian Christians.
In the capital, Tehran, conservatives won all 30 seats, with former mayor and commander of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, topping the list.
Before the election, Ghalibaf’s conservative bloc formed a joint list with the ultra-conservative Paydari Front, or the Front of Islamic Revolution Stability. The Front is led by Morteza Agha Tehrani, a scholar and ultra-conservative politician who tends to advocate the principles that led to Iran’s 1979 revolution while Ghalibaf has a reputation of being an ambitious technocrat.
According to the Ministry of Interior, voter turnout across the country was about 42.5 percent – the lowest since the revolution. In previous parliamentary elections, nationwide turnout exceeded 60 percent. In Tehran, the turnout stood at just 25 percent, down from previous votes when it averaged 50 percent.
On Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country’s enemies had tried to “discourage” people from voting by exaggerating the threat of a new coronavirus but added that participation had been good. The disease has so far claimed the lives of at least eight people in Iran, while more than 40 cases have been confirmed in the country.
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