Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jan. 05 – Registration began on Saturday for parliamentary elections to be held later this year in Iran. Iran Focus
Tehran, Iran, Jan. 05 – Registration began on Saturday for parliamentary elections to be held later this year in Iran.
Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) currently has 290 seats.
Elections are due on March 14. Of Irans population of 70 million, some 43.7 million people over the age of 18 are eligible to take part in the vote.
As in the past, all candidates taking part in the elections have to prove their allegiance to the doctrine of the velayat-e faghih (absolute supremacy of clerical rule) before being allowed to participate in the elections.
Iran refuses to allow United Nations observers to monitor its elections, and many Iran-watchers agree that polls in Iran are often rigged.
The Speaker of the hardline-dominated Majlis is currently Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, a key ally of Iran’s ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Adels daughter is married to Khameneis son, Mojtaba, who played a key role, according to informed sources in Tehran, in organising Irans security forces to manipulate the 2005 presidential elections and give the presidency to Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejads victory in the presidential race was widely believed to have been achieved with the systematic aid of both the powerful Guardians Council and the Revolutionary Guards. The results of the elections were not in line with pre-election polls which placed Ahmadinejad at the rear of the list of presidential hopefuls, and rival candidates charged at the time that the elections were rigged by the ultra-conservative camp.
Despite an announcement at the time by the Interior Ministry claiming polls were rigged and comments by one candidate, who told reporters that in some cities the number of ballots cast were greater than the number of eligible voters, the Guardians Council ruled that it found no vote fraud to have taken place.
The ultra-conservative Guardians Council, the religious theocracys highest vetting organ, is made up of six senior clerics and six judges who must all have the backing of Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Radical cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a close aide to Khamenei, heads the council.
For the 2004 parliamentary elections, the council barred more than 2,500 candidates who were not of the conservative camp, leading the pro-Ahmadinejad faction to take control of the Majlis.