Parliamentary election were held in Iran on 26 February 2016 to elect members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly in all seats. It was the 10th parliamentary election in Islamic Republic era and 35th since Persian Constitutional Revolution. The elected candidates will serve from May 28, 2016 to May 27, 2020. The election were held as part of a general election which also elected members of the Assembly of Experts . It was the first time that two bodies are elected simultaneously.
The Guardian Council is accorded “supervision of elections”. The Guardian Council interprets the term supervision in Article 99 as “approbation supervision” (Persian: نظارت استصوابی) which implies the right for acceptance or rejection of elections legality and candidates competency. This interpretation is in contrast with the idea of “notification supervision” (Persian: نظارت استطلاعی) which does not imply the mentioned approval right. The “evidentiary supervision” (Persian: نظارت استنادی), which requires evidences for acceptance or rejection of elections legality and candidates competency, is another interpretation of mentioned article.
The 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly has 285 directly elected members and five seats reserved for the Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians and Armenians (one for Armenians in the north of Iran and one for Armenians in the south). The 285 directly elected seats are elected from 196 constituencies, which are a mix of single and multi-member. In single-member constituencies candidates must received at least one-third of the votes in the first round. If no candidate passes this threshold, a second round is held with the two best-placed candidates. In multi-member constituencies, voters cast as many votes as there are seats available; candidates must receive votes from at least one-third of voters to be elected; if not all the seats are filled in the first round of voting, a second round will be held with double the number of candidates as there are seats to be filled (or all the original candidates if there are fewer than double the number of seats).
According to Iranian law, in order to qualify as a candidate one must:
Be an Iranian citizen
Have a master’s degree (unless being an incumbent)
Be a supporter of the Islamic Republic, pledging loyalty to constitution
Be a practicing Muslim (unless running to represent one of the religious minorities in Iran)
Not have a “notorious reputation”
Be in good health, between the ages of 30 and 75.
A candidate will be disqualified if he/she is found to be mentally impaired, actively supporting the Shah or supporting political parties and organizations deemed illegal or been charged with anti-government activity, converted to another faith or has otherwise renounced the Islamic faith, have been found guilty of corruption, treason, fraud, bribery, is an addict or trafficker or have been found guilty of violating Sharia law.
According to Payesh Online, a nationwide poll conducted by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting indicates that most voters favor Moderate candidates. Answering “Which political spectrum do you prefer to vote?”, 28% have replied “Moderates”, whereas 24% have cited “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad allies”, 23% and 13% answered Reformists and Principlists respectively and 5% say they favor independents. 41% will vote for “supporters of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Hassan Rouhani”, 24% approve “supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” while only 5% favor “Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel and his comrades”.
According to Payesh Online, results of four separate surveys taken by ‘reliable institutions’ including IRIB and ISPA show that in Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr electoral district, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Mohammad Reza Aref and Ali Motahari are the most popular candidates, each winning about 30% of votes. One of these polls suggests that popularity of Haddad-Adel has decrease from 36% in December 2015 to less than 30% in February 2016. Results suggest that candidates listed by the Pervasive Coalition of Reformists are relatively ‘unknown’ to voters and if they are voted as indpendent figures, only Mohammad Reza Aref, Alireza Mahjoub and Soheila Joloudarzadeh have the chance to win the election and most of the seats will go to the Principlists Coalition; however if the voters decide to vote for the whole Reformist list, reformists will win 29 seats out of 30 in the constituency. The IRIB poll investigating 106 seats in major cities, indicates that Principlists would win more than 80 seats.
According to a poll conducted on 24 February 2016, the last day of advertising, with a ±4% margin of sampling error voters: