Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the country’s low voter turnout on “negative propaganda” by Iran’s enemies about the threat of the spreading coronavirus.
“This negative propaganda began a few months ago and increased as the elections were approaching,” Khamenei said Sunday, according to his official website. “In the last two days, the pretext of an illness and virus was used, and their media did not miss the slightest opportunity to discourage people from voting.”
Iran confirmed its first cases of the virus two days before the polls, according to Reuters. The country has reportedly announced 43 cases of the virus in four different cities, including Tehran, with eight deaths.
The country had its lowest voter turnout in last week’s parliamentary elections since the country’s Islamic Revolution four decades ago, according to The Associated Press.
Voter turnout stood at just 42.57 percent, according to AP which cited Iran’s interior ministry. In 2016, voter turnout was reportedly nearly 62 percent.
Iran’s hard-liners won all 30 parliamentary seats, according to AP which city state TV.
Options for voters were limited, with more than 7,000 potential candidates, mostly reformist and moderates, disqualified. Those disqualified including 90- sitting members of Iran's 29-year parliament that were seeking reelection, according to AP.