General election today
Elections are taking place today for the 290 seats in Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majles-e Showrā-ye Eslāmī or parliament) and the Assembly of Experts, a Constitutional body that appoints the Supreme Leader and consists of 88 members.
There are 54,915,024 registered voters and they will be choosing from around 6,230 candidates.
There are no real political parties in Iran. Instead there are loose coalitions which change from election to election. In this election there are four main lists;
The Principlists Coalition which consists of six associations/parties and which is right-wing, conservative and anti-West is led by Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel a hard-line conservative.
The Pervasive Coalition of Reformists has four associations/parties and a large number of constituent groups and is on the reformist wing of politics. Their list is headed by Mohammad Reza Aref a former Vice-President of Iran under the broadly reforming President Mohammad Khatami.
The People’s Voice Coalition is a bit of a mixed bag with some reformists but more conservatives. They are led by Ali Motahari who has described himself as a Liberal Conservative and a Moderate Conservative.
The fourth list is the Insight and Islamic Awakening Front, a principlist list and definitely on the conservative wing. It is led by another hard-line conservative, Shahab od-Din Sadr.
Polls aren’t really that reliable in Iran, but one poll suggests that the Reformists have about 30.2% support whilst the Principlists Coalition has about 24.2%. Voters may favour more moderate candidates but after the Guardian Council cleaned up the more than 12,000 people who applied to run for election and rejected 5,200 of them (mostly moderates) the new parliament is likely to remain more conservative than moderate.