161 Vying for Seats in Assembly of Experts

161 Vying for Seats in  Assembly of Experts 161 Vying for Seats in  Assembly of Experts

An election official said the qualifications of 161 candidates vying for the Assembly of Experts election have been approved by the Guardians Council, the body charged with supervising elections and vetting the hopefuls.

Secretary of Election Headquarters Ali Pourali Motlaq made the statement on Wednesday in Tehran in an interview with IRNA, adding that of the 795 individuals registered, 185 have withdrawn from the race scheduled for February 26.

This is while after the preliminary vetting process conducted from December 27 to January 25, Siamak Rahpeyk, spokesman for the Central Election Monitoring Board, had said on January 27 that 166 candidates were approved.

The disqualified nominees could appeal the decision from January 28 to 30, while their objections were addressed from January 30 to February 4 by the council.

"Candidates can canvass for votes from February 11 to 24, while they are prohibited from campaigning on February 25," he said. In a statement released by the Election Headquarters, the final list of candidates for the next assembly has been released, the fifth of its kind since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which will sit from 2016 to 2024.

Assembly of Experts Chairman Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, Chairman of Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, President Hassan Rouhani, Guardians Council Secretary Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, and interim Friday prayer leader of Tehran, Ayatollah Mohammed Emami-Kashani were among the 33 candidates confirmed for Tehran province.

Among those excluded from contesting were Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Rasoul Montajabnia, the deputy of the pro-reform National Trust Party, Morteza Aqa-Tehrani, a former principlist lawmaker, Kazem Mousavi-Bojnourdi, a former judicial official, and Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Majid Ansari.

Interior Ministry's spokesman, Hossein Ali Amiri, said on Wednesday that the number of qualified candidates is equal to the number of seats in the four provinces of Hormozgan, North Khorasan, Bushehr and Semnan, which means there will be no competition in these constituencies.

According to the election law, the approved candidates are allowed to change their constituency.

Rahpeyk said on Wednesday that "candidates from six provinces have demanded their constituency be changed".

"Others have until Friday to make their requests," he said. According to Iranian Constitution, those who participate as candidates in the assembly election must be educated in Islam and capable of understanding religious jurisprudence.

The assembly is one of the most important bodies in the government, which is comprised of a leadership council and six committees. It elects and oversees the activities of the Leader of Islamic Revolution, and has the authority to appoint or dismiss him.

In 1989, it picked Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to succeed the founder of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini.