Iran ends week-long campaigning for parliamentary elections

Press TV – Campaigning has officially ended for Iran’s 11th parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections as the country prepares to hold the momentous vote on Friday.

The campaigning ended at 8:00 a.m. (0430 GMT Thursday) and any campaigning beyond this time is a violation of election regulations, Iran’s Election Committee said in a statement on Wednesday.

Iran’s parliamentary elections and the midterm elections for the Assembly of Experts – a body whose members designate the country’s Leader – are to be held simultaneously on February 21.

Campaigns officially started last Thursday and the candidates had one week to win the people’s support for their candidacy. Following the campaigning, there will be a 24-hour silence period until voting begins on Friday morning.

More than 7,000 candidates are competing to enter the parliament. A winning candidate must have at least 20 percent of the votes cast in their constituency in order to become lawmaker for a four-year term.

A total of 57,918,000 people are eligible to cast their ballots. There would be one lawmaker at Majlis per each 190,000-strong segment of the Iranian population.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Wednesday that a total of 55,000 polling stations and over 200 constituencies have been prepared across the country’s 31 provinces for the people to cast their votes.

He said that his ministry is fully prepared to hold the elections, which he described as “a manifestation of people’s participation in [determining] the country’s destiny.”

On Tuesday, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the secretary of Iran’s Guardian Council (GC), which is in charge of supervising elections, called on observers of the votes to help executive committees hold “healthy and lawful elections” under close scrutiny and without interference in the voting process.

In a message addressed to the monitors of the elections, Ayatollah Jannati said all observers, regardless of their political or factional inclinations, had to apply the rule of law and avoid bias.

All observers are obliged to make sure that the candidates are financially healthy and therefore less prone to fraud, he added.