Of the 800 candidates vying for a spot on Iran’s Assembly of Experts, the Guardian Council has only approved 166 candidates, which leaves some ridings uncontested.
After more than 800 people were announced to have registered for the Assembly of Experts elections, the head of the Guardian Council, Islamic Republic hardliner Ahmad Jannati, expressed suspicion regarding the 62 percent increase in the number of candidates, saying there had been a systematic move to “inconvenience” the council.
The Guardian Council must approve all candidates in Iran before they can launch a campaign.
The council has reduced the list to 166, which in effect has finalized the victory of a number of candidates, as there are no competing candidates in their ridings.
Reformists have consistently criticized the role of the Guardian Council in blocking candidates from entering the political arena.
The disqualified candidates have until January 30 to file an appeal, and there may be some changes to the list of candidates if appeals are successful.
ILNA reports that candidates in Hormozgan, Semnan, Bushehr, Norther Khorasan, Western Azerbaijan and Ardebil provinces are running without a rival. The provinces have nine candidates in the assembly, which means that just over 10 percent of the 88-member government body may be elected without actually winning a vote by their constituents.
Conservative factions of the Islamic Republic have been actively trying to stop reformists from getting a majority in Parliament and the Assembly of Experts in the March elections.