1235 GMT April 04, 2020
Leader acclaims ‘huge participation’
Conservatives notch landslide victory
Interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on Sunday that 42.6% of eligible voters turned out at Iran’s parliamentary elections.
Fazli said more than 24.5 million people out of some 58 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the elections on Friday.
He said the lowest turnout from the vote was is the capital, Tehran, with just 25.4% of eligible voters casting ballots.
He said the participation rate was "acceptable" for Iran after it experienced bad weather, an air disaster, a coronavirus outbreak and other incidents in the lead-up to the elections.
“We believe that the number of votes and the turnout is absolutely acceptable.”
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday said foreign media tried to use the deadly outbreak of coronavirus in Iran to "discourage" people from voting.
"This negative propaganda began a few months ago and grew larger approaching the election and in the past two days, under the pretext of an illness and a virus, their media did not miss the slightest opportunity to discourage people from voting," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
First cases of the virus were announced on two days before the elections.
"(Our enemies) are even opposed to any election by the Iranian people," the Leader said, lauding the people's "huge participation" in the vote.
It was the lowest turnout in a general election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah.
Turnout was 62% in the 2016 parliamentary vote and 66% of people voted in 2012.
A low turnout was predicted after electoral authorities disqualified roughly half the 16,000-odd candidates – mostly reformists and moderates – to contest for a seat.
The Leader and other senior officials had urged people to head to the polls as a show of resistance in the face of US pressure and sanctions.
The current Parliament had more than 100 reformists and moderates, with the rest of the chamber split between independents and conservatives. Some 90 current lawmakers were also barred from running in Friday's elections.
Among those disqualified were some 90 sitting members of Iran’s 290-seat parliament who had wanted to run for reelection.
More than 50 current lawmakers were reelected.
Conservatives get upper hand
Conservatives notched a landslide victory in the 290-seat Parliament.
In Tehran, conservatives won all 30 parliamentary seats of the constituency.
Leading the race in the capital was Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a three-time presidential candidate, former police chief and senior member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps who was Tehran mayor from 2005 to 2017. He is expected to be the next parliamentary speaker replacing Ali Larijani.
Qalibaf bagged more than 1.2 million votes.
Tehran is the biggest catch in the election with 30 seats.
The conservatives' resurgence means President Hassan Rouhani's slender majority of reformists and moderates elected four years ago is nearly purged.
Rouhani had criticized the disqualification by the Guardian Council, a top body that weeds out less qualified hopefuls.
Rouhani said the disqualification was akin to customers being told they have options but being offered just one brand at a store. Still, in the days leading up to the election, he’d joined the chorus of official voices urging people to vote.
AFP, AP and Reuters contributed to this story.