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Poll Reveals Only 24 Percent Of People Will Go To Polls In Iran's Capital

People walk past an electoral poster in a Tehran street, February 13, 2020
People walk past an electoral poster in a Tehran street, February 13, 2020

Based on a recent poll, only 24 percent of the people in the Iranian capital city will participate in the parliamentary elections on Friday, February 21, says the chairman of the University of Tehran's Social Studies and Research Institute.

The poll conducted in January shows that 93 percent of the people in Tehran are unhappy with the current situation of the country and its management, and only 24.2% of them will go to the polls, Ahmad Naderi reiterated.

The details about the methodology of the poll are not yet available.

A total of almost sixty million people nationwide are eligible to cast their ballots in the eleventh parliamentary elections, says the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Interior, adding that nearly three million will be first-time voters.

However, immediately after the deadly mid-November uprising against the clergy-dominated establishment, a multitude of Iranians in and outside the country called for a boycott the elections.

Meanwhile, 162 political and civil rights activists have called for "civil disobedience," defending the fundamental rights of the people and staying away from the ballot boxes.

The Guardian Council (GC), Iran's hardliner constitutional watchdog that vets candidates has disqualified more than 7,000 people out of over 14,000 who had applied in December to enter the race. The GC, with the direct support of the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has also disqualified many reformist aspirants, as well as current members of Majles (parliament) who had dared to criticize some aspects of the regime's management.

More than ninety out of the 290-strong parliament, including outspoken legislators such as Tehran's MPs, Ali Motahari, and Mahmoud Sadeqi, are among the disqualified MPs.

In the meantime, the pro-reform leader of women's faction in the Majles announced last December that she would not run for a seat in the upcoming elections as a protest to the bloody suppression of protests in mid-November.

Parvaneh Salahshouri, 54, representing Tehran districts, said she also objected to policies that restrict the parliament's power and authority.

Therefore, many hardliner allies of Khamenei believe that their candidates are set to dominate the eleventh parliament easily.

Iran's reformist Policy-Making High Council moaned last January that ninety percent of its nominees have been barred from the race.

It warned that if the GC did not relent, reformists would have no candidates for 230 out of the 290 seats, and in 160 constituencies, there would be no competition, turning the vote into an appointment process.

The warning fell on deaf ears, and the GC remained steadfast in its decision.

The purge of candidates is likely to discourage many Iranians from voting, but supporters of conservatives and ultra-conservatives are still expected to make a strong showing, AFP said.

There was not much fanfare seen on the streets of Tehran, where posters went up for the first day of campaigning, an AFP correspondent reported.

The Trump Administration has also criticized Iran's election process. On January 16, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that the poll was rigged. "The Iranian regime consistently lies to the Iranian people and treats them with contempt," he said. "Now it is barring thousands of candidates from running for parliament in a massively, publicly rigged election."