Trend Persian Desk Commentator Tamkin Jafarov
Parliamentary election campaign in Iran is traditionally launched with the start of the Election Organization's activity, formed under the Interior Ministry, and ends with the start of activity of the newly elected parliament. This process continues within a year.
Elections in Iran are held under the control of the Guardian Council.
After the elections end, Interior Minister on the first working day of the newly elected parliament makes a report about the final outcome of the voting. This meeting is attended by the country's President, Chief of Iranian Supreme Leader's Office, head of the country's judicial system, Advisory Council chairman and the newly elected parliamentary speaker.
Requirements for candidates
First of all candidates must be Iranian citizens, confess Islam and believe in the Islamic Republic and show their faith in action.
They must be true to Iran's Constitution and the country's Supreme Leader. In addition, they should be authoritative leaders in their circles (those with shadowy past are not allowed), should be physically healthy (not to be blind, deaf and mute) and have a Master's degree. A candidate must be at least 30 and no older than 75 years.
In contrast to the presidential elections and expert elections to the Majlis, representatives of religious minorities may also nominate for parliamentary elections in Iran. "Muslim religion" requirement is not applied to them. Zoroastrians and Jews are provided a seat, while Christians - three (Assyrians, Armenians and Chaldeans) at the Iranian parliament.
Civil servants should resign from their posts six months before registering as a candidate to participate at the parliamentary elections in Iran. Thus, vice-presidents, ministers, ambassadors, governors of provinces, executive power heads, state advisors, judges, heads of departments in judicial system, senior employees of television, city council members, observers and representatives of the Council of Guardians of the Constitution should resign from their posts six months before registering as a candidate.
Main rivals at the elections
Iran registered 260 political parties, some of which operate as various societies, movements and other authorities. A total of 60 percent of them operate. Iran's political spectrum actually consists of three camps - reformers, conservatives and moderate supporters of both conservative and reformist wings of the ruling Iranian clergy. Some 47 parties operate at the reformers' camp, 35 parties - conservatives, while 25 parties- moderate.
Reformers and conservatives are the main rivals at the elections.
Presidential elections were held in Iran on June 12, 2009. Conservative camp representative, current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the elections. He scored 62.6 percent of votes, which was almost twice more than his main rival - former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, who scored 33.75 percent of votes. Mousavi did not recognize the election results and accused the country's authorities in their rigging. The protest action against the election results was the cause of clashes between police and opposition supporters. A great number of people were arrested during the clashes.
From the very beginning of preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, some members of the conservative camp demanded not to allow representatives of the reformers to elections given the 2009 clashes. Leaders of the reformers' camp Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Kerrubi are under house arrest more than a year.
Registration of candidates
On December 24, Iran started the registration of candidates for parliament of the ninth convocation. The elections will be held on March 2, 2012. The registration of candidates will last week. According to the electoral law, the final decision on registration of candidates will be taken by the Guardian Council.
The Interior Ministry publishes the final list of candidates eight days before the elections. The candidates may carry out the propaganda campaign from February 23-February 29 morning. The candidates also have the right to vote in upcoming elections.
The candidates and their representatives may participate in the vote counting and preparation of the protocols till the end of voting at polling stations.
It is prohibited to hamper the presence of candidates' representatives at polling stations. Those who are trying to do this must be prosecuted.
If a candidate gains two-thirds of the votes in his constituency, he is the winner of the elections. Otherwise, the second ballot is conducted. The winner is the one who gains a simple majority.
From the very beginning of the voting, the candidates, dissatisfied with the terms of the elections and offenses can complain to supervisors who are at the polls. If the candidate is dissatisfied with the results of voting, he may appeal to the Guardian Council, within seven days from the date of publication of the election results.
After the Iranian Interior Ministry publishes the results of voting, the winning candidate must wait for the results on the constituencies approved by the Guardian Council. Sometimes, the Guardian Council may consider the results on the constituencies as invalid.
The first meeting of the newly elected Iranian parliament, scheduled for 7 of the month of Khordad 1391 on a solar calendar Hijri (2012 - May 27).
At the first session, MPs take the oath. Muslims swear on the Koran, but the representatives of religious minorities - on the scriptures of their faiths.
The parliamentary elections in Iran (the Iranian Islamic Consultative Council - Majlis) are held every four years. The parliamentary elections of the VIII convocation were held on March 14, 2008. At the moment, there are 290 MPs. Ali Larijani is the chairman of Majlis.