Conservatives dominate the Iranian parliament and the House of Representatives elections Election news

Initial indicators indicate that voter turnout reached about 40 percent, the lowest level since the 1979 revolution in the country.

Tehran, Iran – A group of conservative candidates has swept parliamentary and religious council elections in Iran, as the country faces political and economic challenges.

The final counting of votes is taking place after millions went to the polls on Friday to choose 290 representatives and 88 members of the Assembly of Experts, a body charged with choosing the Supreme Leader, which consists entirely of Muslim scholars.

Official preliminary results from Tehran on Saturday put hardline conservatives Mahmoud Nabavian and Hamid Rasaei at the top of the list of 30 representatives, followed by the 35-year-old state TV presenter and first-time MP, Amir Hossein Sabiti.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqir Qalibaf ranked fourth, and only a few sponsored candidates advanced. Longtime lawmaker Mojtaba Zulnur won a seat in the Shiite holy city of Qom.

Only a few reformist or moderate voices were able to secure entry into Parliament, marking a second parliamentary election from which they were largely absent.

Veteran lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian was among the few moderates who managed to secure the approval of the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, and secure votes, and will represent Tabriz in the 12th Parliament.

Ali Motahhari, a former conservative parliamentarian and son of famous scholar Morteza Motahhari, who has become a more moderate politician compared to other lawmakers, along with most members of his 30-person list, failed to move closer to Tehran for a seat.

People cast their votes in the Iranian parliamentary elections [Maziar Motamedi/Al Jazeera]

President Ebrahim Raisi comfortably renewed his place in the Assembly of Experts for the third time, receiving more than 82 percent of the votes in Iran's eastern South Khorasan Province.

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The president was initially running unopposed after the Guardian Council disqualified other candidates, but one candidate ended up switching his district to ceremoniously run against Raisi for a place in the council's sixth term, which will run until mid-2032.

Ahmad Khatami, the current imam of Friday prayers in Tehran and a hardline conservative, once again secured a place on the council from Kerman Province, and Mohammad Saeedi is the representative of Qom.

Local media said that by obtaining more than 834 thousand votes, Muhammad Ali Al Hashem, the representative of the Supreme Leader in Tabriz, recorded the largest number of votes ever for the winner of the council, and emerged victorious in East Azerbaijan Province.

Sadegh Amoli Larijani, a prominent member of the powerful Larijani family and current head of the supreme arbitration body known as the Expediency Discernment Council, was perhaps the most notable snub on the part of the council.

Guardian Council spokesman Tahan Nazif said on Saturday that the candidates have until Thursday to officially announce any complaints.

It's all about turnout

The elections were held in 59,000 polling stations across Iran, including 6,800 in Tehran Province, which includes the capital and many surrounding cities.

The Ministry of Interior extended the voting time three times, until midnight on Friday, and sent text messages to voters stating that people’s “stampede” for polling stations had kept them open.

But many of the conversations surrounding the elections, both for and against, have been characterized by discussions of low turnout in the first election since the country's protests in 2022 and 2023, and as Iran's economy — under pressure from U.S. sanctions — continues to grapple with high inflation.

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The results are not yet final, but state-linked media reported on Saturday that about 25 million Iranians had cast ballots, which they described as a “major defeat” for what they called an election boycott campaign run by anti-establishment elements.

On Saturday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard thanked Iranians for their “glorious” participation in the elections, saying it was a “decisive response to the enemies.”

This number would reach a turnout of about 40 percent of the 61.2 million eligible voters, which is roughly on par with the 2020 elections that brought lawmakers to Parliament with a turnout of 42 percent, the lowest level in Iran’s history since the country’s 1979 revolution.

In Tehran, a city with about 7.7 million eligible voters, about a quarter of them are believed to have cast their votes, awaiting the final results.

Iran's currency, the rial, continued to fall on Saturday, continuing its downward trend since the start of 2024, partly reflecting concerns about expanding military confrontations between the Iran-backed “axis of resistance” across the region and the US-led coalition. we.

The rial reached a low of around 600,000 against the US dollar in the open market at the start of the Iranian week on Saturday, a number it fell to in late February 2023 before recovering some of its gains.

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