Voting begins in Iran's parliamentary elections

WION Web Team Tehran, Tehran, Iran Feb 21, 2020, 11.09 AM(IST)

File image. Photograph:( AFP )

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The country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was one of the early voters while calling people to take part in the election 'as soon as possible'

Polling booths opened in Iran on Thursday with President Hassan Rouhani's fate in the balance.

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The country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was one of the early voters while calling people to take part in the election "as soon as possible" and  "guarantee the country's national interests".

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It is the eleventh parliamentary election in the country since 1979 taking place this time under US sanctions and under the cloud of former Quad chief Sulemani's death which created widespread uproar in the country after the Iran general was killed by a US drone strike in Iraq.

Public anger aimed at the government last month as Iran's army brought down a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 people on board on the same day the US conducted drone strikes against Sulemani.

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Experts feel the Conservatives may win ousting Rouhani as the country battles high inflation and economic downturn amid US sanctions. In the past ten elections, Iran has averaged 60.5 per cent turnout.

The Guardian Council said it expected at least 50 per cent of registered voters to cast ballots.

At least 58 million people are eligible to vote with 16,033 candidates contesting for 290 seats in 31 provinces.

Voting for the Majles, Iran's parliament lasts for at least ten hours or more with final results expected by Sunday.