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THE historically low turnout during the Iranian elections has once again raised concerns about the legitimacy of the regime.
Conservative hardliners declared a victory following Friday’s elections, but democracy advocates warned on Monday that polling stations were quiet in contrast to previous elections.
A turnout of just over 40 per cent was recorded by the government, but historically the country has had an average turnout of over 70 per cent.
The low figure comes despite voting being declared a “religious duty” by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and made mandatory for public-sector workers.
Tudeh Party of Iran (TPI) international secretary Navid Shomali warned that the election was not legitimate “by any criteria or definition,” adding that even opposition politicians “ultimately loyal to the system” were barred from standing.
“When there are areas of Iran where the vast majority of families are living below the poverty line, with sky-high inflation and workers cannot even eat or meet their daily basic needs adequately, their reaction to the indifference of the regime of [a] corrupt and super-rich oligarchy is unsurprising,” he said.
“The election clearly shows — as the TPI has previously indicated in its analyses — that the majority of the people of Iran have deserted the regime and the objective conditions for a fundamental change in the country are now present.
“The only reason for the continued existence of the Islamic republic is its rule through coercion and fear.”
Following the election, the TPI restated its call for a “united anti-dictatorial front of all democratic and progressive forces who reject foreign intervention in Iran.”
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