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Hardliners leading Iranian election amid reported record low turnout

The turnout could be as low as 41%, according to the state-run news agency.

A woman votes

A day after the parliamentary election concluded in Iran, hardliners are leading in initial vote counting in the capital of Tehran, state media reported.

The IRNA news agency and state TV said 1,960 from 5,000 ballots in Tehran have been counted so far, based on an interior ministry report.

Officials have not yet released the total voter turnout. However, the state-run IRNA said it was 41%, based on unofficial reports.

In the last parliamentary election in 2019, only 42% of eligible voters headed to election stations.

It was considered the lowest turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Elections take place
Voting has been taking place (AP)

Hardliners have controlled the parliament for the past two decades – with chants of “Death to America” often heard while in session.

Under Iranian law, the parliament has a variety of roles, including overseeing the executive branch and voting on treaties.

In practice, absolute power in Iran rests with its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Friday’s election was the first since the bloody crackdown on the 2022 nationwide protests that followed the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Ms Amini, 22, died on September 16 2022, after her arrest by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict headscarf law forcing women to cover their hair and entire bodies.

The protests quickly escalated into calls to overthrow Iran’s clerical rulers.

In the severe clampdown that followed, over 500 people were killed and nearly 20,000 arrested, according to human rights activists in Iran.

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