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Iran national polls: Supreme leader Khamenei casts vote, says "eyes of people of world on Iran today"

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Tehran | March 1, 2024 3:54:34 PM IST
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei of Friday emphasised that "from all sides, eyes are focused on the issues of our country and our dear nation" state media IRNA reported as voting commenced for the country's Parliamentary and Assembly elections.

"Our dear people should know that the eyes of people around the world, both ordinary citizens and political figures, are on Iran today," he stated on Friday morning after casting his vote in the 12th parliamentary elections and the 6th Assembly of Experts elections.

"They want to see what choices you make in these elections and what the outcome will be," Khamenei said after casting his ballot in the polls, as per IRNA.

This is Iran's first parliamentary election since the deadly September 2022 nationwide protests over the country's strict rules on wearing the hijab.

Voters will elect 290 representatives for Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) and 88 representatives for the Assembly of Experts. Initial election results are expected as soon as Saturday.

According to an announcement by Iran's election headquarters, some 15,000 candidates are vying for a seat in the 290-member parliament, formally known as the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

Terms run for four years, and five seats are reserved for Iran's religious minorities.

Additionally, voters will choose 88 clerics who will each hold a seat for eight years at the Assembly of Experts, responsible for selecting the country's supreme leader. All candidates have undergone vetting by the Guardian Council, a powerful constitutional body, before being deemed eligible to run, Al Jazeera reported.

Over 61.2 million people are eligible to vote in a country with a population of approximately 85 million.

According to a report in CNN, Iranians are grappling with an ailing economy, growing political distrust and a quashed protest movement.

The incoming Assembly will select the successor of Khamenei, 84, if he passes away during the body's eight-year term.

Meanwhile, the 2022 protests were quashed by authorities and Iran's parliament passed draconian new legislation imposing much harsher penalties on women who breached hijab rules, CNN reported.

Also, this year, Iran's 12-member Guardian Council, charged with overseeing elections and legislation, has disqualified over 12,000 candidates from running for parliamentary seats and barred former moderate President Hassan Rouhani from running for the Assembly of Experts.

Iran is also battling an ailing economy, which has been crippled by crippled by Western sanctions since 1979, the CNN reported adding to the economic peril of Iranians are "the waves of attacks exchanged between the US and regional militias backed by Tehran."

Inflation, CNN said, was still high at more than 32 per cent as of 2024, with millions falling below the poverty line. (ANI)

 
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