UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Iranians vote on Friday in a parliamentary election likely to boost the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the country faces mounting US pressure over its nuclear program and amid growing discontent at home.
The Guardians Council prevented pro-reform candidates and prominent governors from contesting, making the options available to voters being confined to ultra-conservatives and others loyal to Khamenei.
The conservatives generally support the country’s ruling clerics, but more moderate of them support Iran’s further openness to the outside world.
The moderates and pragmatists sought broader political and social freedoms in the country and were largely prevented from running.
Here are some facts about the eleventh parliamentary elections in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution:
– Examination of those wishing to stand –
Government-run committees examined the papers of those wishing to stand, and then the Guardian Council, made up of clerics and conservative judges, reviewed applicants ’requests to find out their commitment to the teachings of Islam and their conviction of the doctrine of guardianship of the jurist and the Islamic Republic.
After that audit, 7,150 candidates were allowed to contest the elections, out of more than 16,000 who submitted their papers. A third of the current deputies were prevented from standing again.
The moderates thus did not prepare any candidate to compete for the 230 seats that will be included in the elections, out of the 290 seats in Parliament.
– Political parties and alliances –
There are 82 political parties at the level of Iran in addition to 34 parties at the regional level, according to the data of the Ministry of Interior. However, the Islamic Republic lacks disciplined party membership or large-scale party platforms, and therefore politics is managed according to affiliation.
After months of haggling, two major rallies emerged that included ultra-conservatives and one conservative alliance. Some candidates have the support of more than one political grouping.
The Islamic Revolutionary Forces Alliance: the largest grouping of conservative elites, and includes former members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Basij militia, as well as other personalities who owe allegiance to Khamenei. This alliance is expected to dominate the council.
– Fundamentalists: They are conservatives who describe themselves as politicians who move according to principles because of their loyalty to the values of the Islamic Revolution and Khamenei. Their main difference from the conservative extremists is that they are less hostile to the West.
The Islamic Revolution Stability Front: It is seen as the most fundamental of the Islamic fundamentalist camp in Iran. He has links to one of the most militant figures in the Iranian religious establishment, Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi.
The Party of Constructors: composed of technocrats who support the values of the Islamic Revolution but also seek social and political change. Their hopes of having a voice in parliament went unheeded during the vetting process for those wishing to stand as major candidates for the party were prevented from contesting the elections. Together with some of the smaller moderate parties, it formed a list of 30 candidates to compete for the seats in the capital, Tehran.
Although these political groupings may have a greater role in cities, the critical factor for candidates in smaller towns and regional areas is the reputation and ability to communicate personally with the electorate.
The Iranian constitution allocates five seats in parliament to religious minorities.
– Vote and results –
Polling stations open at 0430 GMT and close at 1430 GMT, and voting can be extended until 2030 GMT (midnight local time).
There are about 58 million eligible to vote among the country’s 83 million people. Among the conditions for eligibility to vote is the age of eighteen.
All votes are counted and counted manually, so final results may not be announced three days ago, but partial and preliminary results may appear before then.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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