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Rouhani Worried over Low Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections

Rouhani Worried over Low Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections

Thursday, 1 April, 2021 - 09:30
The Iranian cabinet meeting chaired by President Hasan Rouhani (Iranian Presidency)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has expressed concern over the decline in voter turnout, warning that the collapse of the elections and the referendum is equivalent to "the end of the revolution."

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Rouhani warned low voter turnout would be a major blow to the path taken by the Iranians, in reference to 1979 referendums on the adoption of the Islamic Republic.

The presidential elections, scheduled for June 18 are important after Iran has seen its lowest turnout in a parliamentary election since the 1979 revolution.

According to official figures, only 42 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots around the country and only 25 percent in Tehran.

Rouhani warned that if people see the elections as a failure, this means that all revolutions have failed. He emphasized the value of a high turnout.

"The first issue that we have in the remaining four months of the term of the government is to hold a glorious and passionate election, and we should all try to do so".

He called on candidates from across the political spectrum to participate in the elections in order to encourage people to head to the polls.

Rouhani asserted that "people's choice" should not be feared.

Rouhani's allies in the reformist movement insist on the participation of their candidates in the elections to avoid a drop in the participation rate.

The reformist movement is suffering from a decline in its popularity, especially after Rouhani failed to fulfill his promises, namely on the economy.

However, the reformists are aiming for a "negative vote" against the conservative candidates led this year by officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and others close to the Supreme Leader.

Recently, opponents of the current regime have launched an unprecedented campaign on social networks, rejecting the Islamic republic and calling for boycotting the ballots.

This is the first presidential election after two large waves of angry protests swept the country in December 2017 and November 2019.

Iran has also witnessed labor strikes and protests in some regions of ethnic minorities.

No data has been released yet on the potential participation rate in the presidential elections, but the authorities intend to hold the elections of municipal councils on the same day.

Municipal elections are usually affected by ethnic and regional competition, depending on the 31 Iranian regions.

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