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Iran faces record low voter turnout in presidential election since 1979 revolution

July 1, 2024 at 5:33 pm

Iranians cast their votes for the snap presidential election at the Hosseiniyeh Ershad in Tehran, Iran on June 28, 2024. [Fatemeh Bahrami – Anadolu Agency]

Iran has faced a record low voter turnout in its presidential election over the past few days, making it the lowest since the 1979 revolution.

According to Iran’s Interior Ministry on Saturday, only 40 per cent of eligible Iranians – numbering over 61 million – voted in the election the day prior, with just over 24.5 million ballots having been counted.

Although all major elections held in Iran in the past four years had received a low voter turnout, Friday’s vote was lower than the 45 to 53 per cent predicted by the polls, making it the lowest in the country since the ‘Islamic revolution’ of 1979.

It was despite the fact that Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had called for “high participation” in the election, which was scheduled early due to the recent death of the late president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May.

READ: Iranians vote in presidential election with limited choices

The reasons for the record low turnout this year have not yet been entirely clarified or confirmed, but reports and analyses speculate that they are due to issues such as the limited choices in candidates, a decreased trust in the election process and a method of civil disobedience against the government particularly after authorities’ harsh response to mass protests throughout Iran in 2022 and 2023.

As a result of Friday’s vote, the candidates were narrowed down to the last two – the reformist, Masoud Pezeshkian, and hardliner, Saeed Jalili – who both failed to secure a majority or minimum 50 per cent of the vote required by Iranian law.

The election is subsequently heading into a run-off this week, which would be the second time a presidential election in Iran has gone to a second round since 1979.

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