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Nearly 5,400 would-be MPs sign up for Iran poll | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TEHRAN, (AFP) — A total 5,395 people, including 428 women, have registered as would-be candidates for Iran’s parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2, the interior ministry said on Saturday in a final tally.

Iran’s Guardian Council, a panel of conservative clerics and jurists, is to vet each of those registered to see if they meet the criteria to fill one of the 290 seats in parliament.

Each candidate must be an Iranian citizen aged 30 to 75 who will uphold the constitution, which notably stipulates that absolute authority is invested in the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He or she must also have a university master’s degree or equivalent.

The Guardian Council is also responsible for supervising the elections and endorsing the polling results.

Iran’s current parliament is dominated by conservatives. They are not a single bloc, however, and will be presenting several lists.

There are also some 60 reformers, but the main reformist parties — some of which are banned — will not be participating in the elections.

Nevertheless, some candidates from the reformist camp have registered, according to Iranian media.

The March poll will be the first since the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose declared victory triggered claims of fraud and widespread protests that were brutally put down.