Iran’s Parliament Election 2024: What You Need to Know

  • Why does this election matter?

  • Are elections fair and free in Iran?

  • Who is running for Parliament?

  • When will we learn the result?

  • Who is going to win?

  • Where can I find out more information?

Why does this election matter?

Iran is holding parliamentary elections on March 1, the first general vote since an uprising, led by women and girls, swept across the country in 2022, calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s rule. The government violently crushed the protests, but demands for change endure and many Iranians view boycotting the vote as an act of protest.

Election turnout is expected to be low, especially in the capital, Tehran, and other major cities, according to the government’s own polls cited in Iranian media. The election is important because voter turnout is viewed by both supporters and critics of the government as a barometer for legitimacy. Opponents say they are sitting out the vote to signal that they no longer believe meaningful change can come through the ballot box under the current system.

There is a separate election on March 1 for electing members of an 88-seat body called the Assembly of Experts. Iran’s Constitution mandates that the assembly select the supreme leader, the highest clerical authority, who has the last word on all key state matters and serves as the commander in chief of the armed forces. The assembly also functions as an advisory body to the supreme leader and can supervise or dismiss him, although it has never done so.

The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is 84 years old and has been in his role for more than three decades. It is largely expected that the next assembly will choose his successor.

Are elections fair and free in Iran?

Elections in Iran are not considered fair and free, according to critics and human rights groups, because of the murky process of vetting candidates and mass disqualifications by the Guardian Council. The council is accused of engineering elections, both presidential and parliamentary, because it essentially removes the element of choice from the public and limits their picks to candidates it deems fit for office.

Iran’s elections were once competitive, with candidates from all the major political parties on the ballot. The results were unpredictable and participation was high. But in the last few years, voters have only been given conservative candidates to choose from.

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