Iran opens final registration for candidates in next year’s parliament election

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The final phase of registration for candidates who want to run in Iran’s parliamentary election next year opened Thursday, state media reported.

Nearly 49,000 people filed initial paperwork in August seeking to run for the 290-seat parliament in the election, set for March 1, 2023. The elections will be the first since nationwide protests rocked the country last year.

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That is a record number and more than three times the 16,000 registrations filed in the last election in 2020, when voter turnout was its lowest since 1979. Just over 42 percent of eligible voters cast ballots at the time.

Candidates have a week to finalize their profiles online. Each hopeful will have to be approved by the Guardian Council, a 12-member clerical body with half of its members directly appointed by the supreme leader.

There were no details on the registration of prominent political figures or pro-reform groups. The increase in filings was seen as a result of an easy online registration process.

Some 14 percent of submissions were from women, a slight increase from 12 percent in 2020. About 250 current members of the 290-seat parliament also registered.

Iran has been mired in a severe economic crisis since former US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal with world powers and restored crushing sanctions. The currency’s value has plummeted, erasing many Iranians’ life savings and driving up prices. With so many struggling to meet basic needs, analysts say there is little energy left over for protests or politics.

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