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2000 Iran 2008
Iranian legislative election, 2004
All 290 seats to the Parliament of Iran
February 20, 2004/ May 7, 2004
First party Second party
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 16-17 October 2007.jpg Mostafa Kavakebian.jpg
Leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Mostafa Kavakebian
Party Conservatives Reformists
Last election 54 189
Seats won 156 39
Percentage 54% 13%

Previous Speaker
Mehdi Karroubi


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The Iranian parliamentary elections of February 20 and May 7, 2004 were a victory for Islamic conservatives over the reformist parties. It was marked by mass disqualification of reformist candidates.



The first round of the 2004 elections to the Iranian Parliament were held on February 20, 2004. Most of the 290 seats were decided at that time but a runoff was held 2 1/2 months later on May 7, 2004, for the remaining thirty-nine seats where no candidate gained sufficient votes in the first round. In the Tehran area, the runoff elections were postponed to be held with the Iranian presidential election of June 17, 2005.

The elections took place amidst a serious political crisis following the January 2004 decision to ban about 2500 candidates—nearly half of the total—including 80 sitting Parliament deputies. This decision, by the conservative Council of Guardians vetting body, "shattered any pretense of Iranian democracy", according to some observers.[1]

The victims of the ban were reformists, particularly members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), and included several leaders. In many parts of Iran, there weren't even enough independent candidates approved, so the reformists couldn't form an alliance with them. Out of a possible 285 seats (5 seats are reserved for religious minorities: Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians), the participating reformist parties could only introduce 191 candidates. Many pro-reform social and political figures, including Shirin Ebadi, asked people not to vote (although some reformist party leaders, such as those in the IIPF, specifically mentioned they would not be boycotting the elections). Some moderate reformists, however, including President Mohammad Khatami, urged citizens to vote in order to deny the conservative candidates an easy majority.

Conservative political groups included the Militant Clergy Association and the Islamic Coalition Society. Liberal–reformist groups included the Militant Clergy Society, Islamic Iran Participation Front, Construction Executives, and Worker's House. [2]

The official turnout was approximately 60%, down from the 2000 election. One of the conservative alliances, Etelaf-e Abadgaran-e Iran-e Eslami, won all of the city's 30 seats. There are rumors that some voters were transferred to Tehran or other big cities from other areas by some of the parties, and a claim that the Municipality of Tehran, whose mayor backed the same alliance, was advertising for the alliance illegally, using the government's budget.[citation needed]

The day before the election, the reformist newspapers Yas-e-no and Shargh were banned.

The preliminary results of the elections showed a victory by the conservatives. A basic comparison of the partial lists indicated that even among the seats where the reformist alliance had a candidate, only 28% (30 out of 107) were elected.

Political historian Ervand Abrahamian credits the victory of Abadgaran and other conservatives in the 2004 elections (as well as the 2003 and 2005 elections) to the conservatives' retention of their core base of 25% of the voting population; their recruiting of war veteran candidates; their wooing of independents using the issue of national security; and most of all "because large numbers of women, college students, and other members of the salaried middle class" who make up the reformists' base of support "stayed home". [3] Pro-reform voters were discouraged by division in the reform movement and by the disqualifying of reform candidates from running for office.[4]

e • d 20 February and 7 May 2004 Majlis of Iran election results
Orientiation of candidates Seats % of Seats
Conservatives 156 54%
Reformists 39 13%
Independents 31 11%
Elected in second round 59 20%
Armenians recognized minority religion 2
Chaldean and Assyrian Catholic recognized minority religion 1
Jewish recognized minority religion 1
Zoroastrian recognized minority religion 1
Total (Turnout around 50 %) 290
Source: IPU

Official statistics (from the Ministry of Interior)

  • Total candidates: 4679
  • Decided in the first round: 225 of 289 seats
  • To be decided in the second round: 64 seats
  • Number of voting booths in the country: 39,885
  • Number of staff: about 600,000
  • Number of voters: 23,725,724 (1,971,748 in Tehran and its suburbs)


  1. ^ Iran: an afternoon with a hostage-taker, Afshin Molavi 10-11-2005
  2. ^ Abrahamian, History of Modern Iran, (2008), p.193
  3. ^ Abrahamian, History of Modern Iran, (2008), p.193
  4. ^ Abrahamian, History of Modern Iran, (2008), p.194

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