‘The mood of society has changed’ – Iran faces a pathetic turnout at this month’s election

A recent survey suggests only 41 per cent of eligible voters plan to cast ballots in the 18 June contest to succeed President Rouhani. Why, asks Borzou Daragahi

Sunday 13 June 2021 15:54
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<p>An Iranian sits under a poster of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi at a campaign office in Tehran on 7 June</p>

An Iranian sits under a poster of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi at a campaign office in Tehran on 7 June

The Iranian presidential election is approaching and judging by poll numbers, even those published by state media, enthusiasm nationwide is dismal. A recent survey conducted by a state-backed polling organisation suggested that only 41 per cent of eligible voters plan to cast ballots in the 18 June contest to succeed the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani.

An extensive study conducted by the organisation Gamaan yielded numbers that were yet more abysmal, suggesting that only 25 per cent of voters will show up at the polls. That’s pathetic for a country that has for 42 years aspired to be some kind of democratically anchored Islamic utopia.

Such numbers are even more extraordinary when considering that Iranians often fear that failing to vote – and obtaining the requisite stamp in the identification booklet that serves as a birth certificate and family record – could mean retribution at work or at university.

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