The conservative movement is expected to dominate the results of Iran’s parliamentary elections tomorrow, following the disqualification of scores of reformist candidates. Below is a quick rundown of the Iranian elections written by Navanti analyst Khalid Fatah.
Iranian Parliament. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Quick parliamentary election facts

  • Iranian parliamentary elections are held every four years. Iranian parliament is made up of 290 seats, including seats reserved for religious, but not ethnic minorities. Iran’s Zoroastrian minority gets one seat; the Jewish community one seat; the Chaldean and Assyrian Christians one seat; and the Armenian Christians two seats.

  • Every Iranian citizen over the age of 18 with a valid ID is allowed to vote in the parliamentary elections. Candidates were given one week to campaign starting February 13, while election ads stop 24 hours before voting begins at 8am on Friday.

  • Parliament has the ability to write laws, as well as approve international treaties and the government’s budget. 

The candidates and expected results

Candidates are broadly split into two groups: reformists and conservatives, with the latter faction itself divided over ideology and certain controversial personalities.

This election cycle, roughly 15,000 individuals applied to run from both camps. But over 7,000 candidates were disqualified by Iran’s Guardian Council, whose members are appointed directly or indirectly by the Supreme Leader. Many of those disqualified candidates come from the reformist camp, including at least 80 current members of parliament, as well as less radical conservatives. The Guardian Council has “effectively expelled the reformist faction of the regime from the political realm,” wrote Arash Azizi for the Atlantic Council on February 14.

As a result, the electoral competition seems like it will play out exclusively among the conservative camp. One name to watch is Mohammad Qalibaf, the former mayor of Tehran who styles himself a technocrat and has led multiple previous failed bids for president. 

Iranian President Rouhani, himself a centrist, has criticized the mass disqualification of candidates but his party called on Iranians to participate in the elections.

Nevertheless, indications point to a low turnout this Friday, as a result of several factors: the collapsed economy; excessive violence used to quell recent protests that broke out over fuel prices; and in response to calls to boycott elections from some reformists, civil society actors, and Kurdish political parties. 

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