Election campaign kicks off in Iran

As the general elections to be held in Iran on 1 March are just a short time away, the campaign has started.

On 1 March, people of Iran will go to the polls to elect 290 members of parliament for four-year terms in a single round.

On the same day, votes will also be cast to elect 88 members of the Assembly of Experts, which is responsible for appointing and dismissing the Supreme Leader, for eight-year terms.

15,200 candidates will compete in the general elections. This is considered a record number. Compared to the 2020 elections, the number of candidates has doubled. However, some of these candidates, especially in small constituencies, are doctors, engineers, civil servants and teachers who are not affiliated with any group or political affiliation. This is allegedly done in order to increase competition at the local level and increase voter turnout.

1,713 women are among the candidates for this year's elections. In 2020, 819 women were in the race.

These will be the first elections since the murder of young Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini in September 2022 and the unprecedented uprising that followed. During the uprising, state forces killed more than 500 people and arrested more than 22,000, according to human rights organisations.

There is no uncertainty as to whether the current parliamentary majority will remain in these elections. Given the absence of any real competition between the so-called "reformers" and "moderates", experts reduce these elections to a duel between conservatives and ultra-conservatives.

This leaves uncertainty about voter turnout. The turnout in 2020 was 42.7 percent, the lowest since 1979. Political observers do not rule out the possibility that apathy in these elections will reach the highest level in 45 years.