IRAN (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF)
Parliamentary Chamber: Majles Shoraye Eslami

ELECTIONS HELD IN 1996

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Chamber:
  Majles Shoraye Eslami


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  8 March 1996
19 April 1996


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  The election date was set on 24 May 1995. However, the campaign officially lasted only one week. There were altogether 3276 candidates (including 326 women) for the 270 seats at stake - a higher number than at the previous (March 1992) elections. While no political parties were in the running, the poll offered an occasion for a large debate between a dozen Islamic factions, especially the conservative group led by Assembly Speaker Nategl-Nouri and the moderate wing headed by President of the Republic Ali Akbar Rafsandjani. The former - known as the Society of Combatant Clergy - had dominated the outgoing legislature and put the priority on social justice ahead of economic development and reconstruction of infrastructure as called for by the pragmatically-minded, "technocrat" clerics in the face of the country's economic problems (foreign debt, inflation, rising unemployment, falling revenues of the petroleum industry). Underlying these issues was the significant one of separation of Church and State. The election campaign opened on 29 February.

Of the country's registered electorate, a high proportion of some 70% comprised young voters under 25 years of age. First round results, according to which 145 seats were reportedly filled, left the conservatives in the lead. In the second round on 19 April, their opponents, the Servants of Iran's Construction supported by the President, made substantial gains so that the two emerged with nearly the same amount of Assembly seats, short of absolute majority; this outcome was expected to have a significant impact on the future course of politics in the country. Of the elected Deputies, many were newcomers as more than 100 outgoing legislators had not run. The first sitting of the newly elected Parliament took place on 1 June.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (8 March 1996): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 32,000,000 (approx)
Voters 24,718,661

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Society of Combatant Clergy 110
Servants of Iran's Construction 80
Others 58

Comments:
  22 seats remain to be filled (by-elections scheduled for February 1997)

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 238
Women: 10


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Copyright 1996 Inter-Parliamentary Union