Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Nov. 29 Irans Interior Ministry released on Wednesday the names of 163 candidates for the upcoming Assembly of Experts elections. Iran Focus
Tehran, Iran, Nov. 29 Irans Interior Ministry released on Wednesday the names of 163 candidates for the upcoming Assembly of Experts elections.
A total of 493 religious figures had registered to stand in the December 15 polls to win a seat in the Assembly of Experts.
The final list of candidates approved to stand was handed to the ministry Tuesday evening by the ultra-conservative Guardians Council, the religious theocracys highest vetting organ.
The 86-member Assembly of Experts is an exclusively clerical body entrusted with the task of selecting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.
Most candidates were vetted out by the Guardians Council and at least 203 were asked to take a preliminary examination in order to qualify to stand in the polls.
Some analysts believe the elections to be a farce since the total number of candidates taking part is less than twice the number of contended seats.
Still, the director of elections office at the Interior Ministry told the state-owned news agency Mehr on Wednesday that all constituencies would be competed for. Based on the list of approved names which was sent to the Interior Ministry last night by Guardians Council, the number of candidates for the Assembly of Experts is more that the number of representatives in each constituency; thus, the polls are competitive in all constituencies, Ali-Asghar Kar-Andish said.
Prominent names in the list of candidates approved are former President and current State Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, former chief nuclear negotiator with the West Hassan Rowhani, and radical Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi.
The list also includes former intelligence ministers Qorban-Ali Dori Najafabadi and Ali Fallahian and current Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.
Tehran Friday prayers leaders Ahmad Khatami and Ayatollah Mohammadi Emami-Kashani also appear on the list.
Assembly members are elected by the public to eight-year terms. Polling was last conducted in 1998. This year the elections will coincide with the countrys municipal elections.