Turnout in the country’s parliamentary election was around 42%, said Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli. Around 24 million people out of 58 million eligible voters participated in Friday’s election.

Poll closing was extended by six hours on Friday in order to give people more time to vote.

Both experts and Iranians themselves pointed to the struggling economy, the lack of moderate and reformist choices, and overall disillusionment and frustration with the government as reasons for why people stayed home.

“The turnout is very important for the Islamic republic. That is why the Supreme Leader has called on Iranians to participate and cast their vote. But for now, they are not doing so,” DW correspondent Theresa Tropper said on Friday, reporting from a polling station in Tehran.

“There are hardly any voters in this polling station in northern Tehran. Because with half of the candidates barred from running, people feel they don’t have a choice this time and can’t make a difference anyway. So while hardliners are sure to emerge victorious from this election, polls are also predicting the lowest turnout in years.”

On top, Iran’s economy has struggled under crippling US sanctions reimposed in 2018 when US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of a nuclear deal with the Middle Eastern power.

The Iranian military’s recent downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet, which had been carrying many Iranian citizens, also resulted in a wave of anti-government protests.