Iranian legislative election, 2004

Iranian legislative election, 2004

The first round of the 2004 elections to the Majlis of Iran were held on February 20, 2004. Most of the 290 seats were decided at that time but a runoff was held 2 1/2 months later on May 7, 2004, for the remaining thirty-nine seats where no candidate gained sufficient votes in the first round. In the Tehran area, the runoff elections were postponed to be held with the Iranian presidential election of June 17, 2005.

The elections took place amidst a serious political crisis following the January 2004 decision to ban about 2500 candidates -- nearly half of the total -- including 80 sitting Parliament deputies. This decision, by the conservative Council of Guardians vetting body, "shattered any pretense of Iranian democracy," according to some observers. [ [ Iran: an afternoon with a hostage-taker, Afshin Molavi] 10-11-2005]

The victims of the ban were reformists, particularly members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), and included several leaders. In many parts of Iran, there weren't even enough independent candidates approved, so the reformists couldn't form an alliance with them. Out of a possible 285 seats (5 seats are reserved for religious minorities: Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians), the participating reformist parties could only introduce 191 candidates. Some reformist parties, like the IIPF, announced that they would not vote (although they specially mentioned they are not boycotting the elections); however, some moderate reformists, including President Mohammad Khatami, urged citizens to vote in order to deny the conservative candidates an easy majority.

While many pro-reform social and political figures, including Shirin Ebadi, had asked people not to vote, the official turnout was about 51%. Even in Tehran and its suburbs, a stronghold of reformist sympathies, turnout was about 28%, and one of the conservative alliances, "Etelaf-e Abadgaran-e Iran-e Eslami", won all of the city's 30 seats. There are rumors that some voters were transferred to Tehran or other big cities from other areas by some of the parties, and a claim that the Municipality of Tehran, whose mayor backed the same alliance, was advertising for the alliance illegally, using the government's budget.

The day before the election, the reformist newspapers Yas-e-no and Shargh were banned.

The preliminary results of the elections showed a victory by the conservatives. A basic comparison of the partial lists indicated that even among the seats where the reformist alliance had a candidate, only 28% (30 out of 107) were elected.

=Official statistics (from the Ministry of Interior)=

* Total candidates: 4679
* Decided in the first round: 225 of 289 seats
* To be decided in the second round: 64 seats
* Number of voting booths in the country: 39,885
* Number of staff: about 600,000
* Number of voters: 23,725,724 (1,971,748 in Tehran and its suburbs)


External links

* [ BBC In Depth on Iran elections crisis]
* [ of 191 reformist candidates (in Persian)]

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