-Parliamentary election, scheduled for March 14, 2008; 4 year terms, 290 seats in approximately 200 constituencies. The unicameral Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami (Islamic Consultative Council), has the power to propose and pass legislation and act as a check on the President.
-Candidates must be between 30 and 75 years old; elected by popular vote.
-7,168 candidates registered to run for the election.
-Controlled by the Guardian Council and Interior Ministry.
-Official campaigning begins one week before the elections.
Candidates are vetted multiple times to ensure that they meet basic requirements and are committed to the constitution and the Islamic republic. The first round of vetting is conducted by local executive boards appointed by the Interior Ministry and often is biased toward the political views of the current government. Later rounds are conducted by the Guardian Council, composed of six clerics and six lawyers. More than 2,400 candidates have been barred from running thus far. Disqualified candidates can appeal, but appeals are rarely granted. A final list will be issued on March 5.
Reformists have had 70 percent of their candidates barred from the elections. Only a few of their senior and most electable officials remain. Reformists, however, have appealed to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and may still contest the election. Conservatives in Iran have split into two rival factions. One group is aligned with President Ahmadinejad while another has formed around former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Larijani’s faction is critical of Ahmadinejad’s economic policies as well as his approach to Iran’s nuclear program. The election is perceived in Iran as a measure of Ahmadinejad’s popularity as he has struggled to address economic problems and has recently had some of his initiatives publicly struck down by Khamenei.