Iran elections: First elections following countrywide demonstrations in 2022

This Friday marks the first elections in Iran since the 2022 countrywide anti-government protests. Two distinct elections are scheduled: one for parliamentarians and another for members of the Assembly of Experts, who select, remove, and supervise Iran’s Supreme Leader, the nation’s supreme leader and commander in chief. The elections are viewed as a critical litmus test for determining the legitimacy of the government of the Islamic Republic.

 

The Guardian Council, a group of clerics and jurists that includes members nominated by the country’s current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, must approve candidates for the presidency, parliament, and Assembly of Experts. Following the controversial 2009 presidential election, which sparked massive street protests and a bloody crackdown on dissent, candidates who supported reformist candidates, questioned the validity of elections, or offered even the tiniest critique of the way the government handled the protests were automatically disqualified. Among them were four previous presidents as well as numerous more well-known politicians.

 

The Guardian Council has approved a record 15,200 people to run for the 290 seats in the next parliamentary election. Only thirty of the reformist camp’s applications, however, have been accepted—a strikingly small amount. Since 2004, the Conservative Party has controlled the legislature, and they are anticipated to retain their majority. The reformist faction has always looked among the approved candidates for legislators who are similar to them in past parliamentary elections. Additionally, they persistently urged individuals to cast ballots. They have now officially declared for the first time that they will not participate in an election that they view as “meaningless, non-competitive, unfair, and ineffective in the administration of the country”.

 

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