Iran elections: Counting begins as reports suggest low turnout


Iran has started counting ballots for parliament and key clerical body elections as unofficial reports suggest Friday’s vote saw the lowest turnout since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The elections were the first since widespread protests triggered by the September 2022 death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, an Iranian Kurd.

She was held for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

More than 61.2 million Iranians were eligible to vote.

Two separate polls took place on Friday: one to elect the next members of parliament, and another to elect the Assembly of Experts.

The assembly selects and oversees Iran’s most powerful figure and commander-in-chief, the supreme leader, who makes decisions on issues such as social freedoms and economic conditions.

Iran has been badly hit by international sanctions, an economic crisis, widespread hardship and violent unrest.

Despite Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s appeal for people to cast their votes, many Iranians were split on whether or not to take part.

The 2020 parliament was elected during the Covid-19 pandemic with a turnout of 42.57% – officially the lowest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Early polling on Friday suggested the election’s turnout could be at a new record low and is thought to be particularly low in the capital, Tehran.

A state-linked polling agency projected a 41% turnout for the parliamentary elections – which, if accurate, will be the lowest turnout in the past 12 such