Prominent figures register for parliamentary polls

December 8, 2019 - 18:45

TEHRAN – Saturday marked the seventh and last day that parliamentary hopefuls were able to enroll for the upcoming elections.

Jamal Orf, who serves as the head of the Interior Ministry elections headquarters, said on Sunday that 16,145 people registered to run for the elections.

He said 88 percent of the registrants are male and 12 percent female, adding that 248 current and 633 former members of the parliament also registered.

The Iranian parliament has 290 members who are elected by the people for four-year terms.

The elections will be held in over 200 constituencies across the country’s 31 provinces.

The midterm elections of the Assembly of Experts will also be held on the same date in Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, Fars and Qom provinces.

The Guardian Council will vet parliamentary hopefuls for their qualifications and will release the names of candidates deemed eligible to run by December 18.

Disqualified candidates will have four days to object to the Guardian Council, after which the council will study complaints and announce the final list on February 11.

The candidates will have 8 days to spend on the campaign trail, ending on February 19, and then the elections will be held on February 21, 2020.

During the 7-day registration time, prominent political figures signed up, including the former mayor of Tehran Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who is regarded as a perennial candidate in the presidential elections with three unsuccessful runs.

Ghalibaf was a candidate in the 2005 presidential election. He was also a candidate in the 2013 presidential election but lost to Hassan Rouhani, in second place with 6,077,292 of the votes. He announced his run for the third time in the 2017 election. However, he withdrew on 15 May 2017 in favor of Ebrahim Raisi’s candidacy.

A former presidential aide for civil rights Shahindokht Molaverdi also registered on Sunday, saying reformists seek massive participation of people in the elections.

“We will do as much as we can to form a strong and effective parliament,” Molaverdi said.

Among other figures registering are current vocal MP Ali Motahari; pro-reform MP Masoud Pezeshkian who currently serves as deputy parliament speaker; Mostafa Mirsalim from the conservative Islamic Coalition Party who contested the 2017 presidential election; former reformist lawmaker and secretary-general of the Unity of the Nation Party Ali Shakouri Rad; and Majid Ansari, a former aide to President Rouhani and President Khatami.
   
According to Press TV, people close to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were also among those appearing at a registration office.

Meanwhile, current parliament speaker Ali Larijani announced earlier that he would not contest the upcoming elections after serving for three terms as a representative of Qom.

Mohammad Reza Aref, chairman of the pro-reform Hope faction, also declined to register, saying, “I feel I can be of better help outside of Majlis.”

Aref was a candidate in the 2013 presidential election but withdrew his candidacy upon a request by Mohammad Khatami, who was president from 1997-2005.

On November 4, 2014, he announced he would run for parliament in the 2016 election from Tehran. 

He was elected to the parliament with 1,608,926 votes which were the highest in the election.

All the 30 candidates in the Hope list, led by Aref, found a seat in parliament in Tehran.

Guardian Council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei said on Tuesday that the council is the only body responsible to supervise the elections.

“Sometimes questions arise over whether we are the only supervisor of the elections or not,” Kadkhodaei said, adding, “I emphasize that the Guardian Council is the only supervisor of the elections.”

He said the Judiciary is tasked with investigating offenses and the Interior Ministry has an executive responsibility.

“This separation of supervision and execution is very important,” the spokesman remarked. “We should be able to implement our legal responsibilities properly.”

MH/PA

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