Iran Says Parliamentary Election Turnout was 42%
Iran's interior minister said on Sunday that turnout in the country's parliamentary election on Feb. 21 was around 42%, state TV reported, the lowest participation since Iran's 1979 revolution that swept the clerical rulers into power.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said more than 24 million people out of 58 million eligible voters participated in the election on Friday.
A low turnout had been widely forecast, as a conservative-dominated electoral watchdog disqualified about half the 16,000-odd candidates, mostly moderates and reformists.
Voter apathy marked the polls, but supreme leader Ali Khamenei on Sunday lauded the people's "huge participation" despite what he termed "this negative propaganda".
He accused foreign media of trying to use the outbreak of the new coronavirus to sabotage the polls.
It "began a few months ago and grew larger approaching the election and in the past two days, under the pretext of this illness," he said, according to a televised extract of his speech.
The latest three deaths Iran reported on Sunday were among 15 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, bringing the overall number of infections to 43 and fatalities to eight -- the highest death toll outside of China, the epicenter of the epidemic.