|Islamic Consultative Assembly|
|31st Consultative Assembly|
|Speaker||Ali Larijani, (Islamic Society of Engineers)
since March 14, 2008
|First Deputy Speaker||Mohammad Reza Bahonar, (Islamic Society of Engineers)
since May 3, 1988
|Second Deputy Speaker||Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, (Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran)
since March 15, 2008
|Speaker of Reformist Council||Mohammad Reza Tabesh, (Executives of Construction Party)
since March 14, 2008
|Political groups||Conservatives (170)
Religious minorities (5)
|Last election||May 2, 2008|
|Islamic Consultative Assembly
The Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran (Persian: مجلس شورای اسلامی, lit. Majlis), also called The Iranian Parliament or People's House, is the national legislative body of Iran. The Parliament currently has 290 representatives, changed from the previous 270 seats since the 18 February 2000 election.
The current speaker of parliament is Ali Larijani, with first deputy speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar and second deputy speaker Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard.The presiding board member is Mousa Qorbani.
It was created by the Iran Constitution of 1906 and first convened on 6 November 1906 (Iranian Calendar: 1285-Mehr-13,), soon gaining power under the rule of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Noteworthy bills passed by the Parliament under the Pahlavi Dynasty include the Oil Nationalization Bill (15 March 1951) and the Family Protection Law (1967), which gave women many basic rights such as custody of children in case of divorce.
Women were not allowed to vote or be elected to the Parliament until 1963, as part of reforms under the Shah's "White Revolution". The reforms were regarded as dangerous, Westernizing trends by traditionalists, especially by the powerful Shia religious leaders, including Ayatollah Khomeini. The events led to a revolt on 5 June 1963 and the exile of Khomeini to Iraq. The twenty-first National Consultative Assembly, which included female representatives, opened on 6 October 1963.
After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Senate was abolished and the Iranian legislature thus became unicameral. In the 1989 revision of the constitution, the National Consultative Assembly became the Islamic Consultative Assembly.
The Parliament of Iran has had eight chairmen since the Iranian Revolution. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was the first chairman, from 1980 to 1989. Then came Mehdi Karroubi (1989–1992), Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri (1992–2000), Mehdi Karroubi (2000–2004), Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel (2004–2008) and Ali Larijani since 2008.
Over its history the Parliament is said to have evolved from being "a debating chamber for notables," to "a club for the shah's placemen" during the Pahlavi era, to a body dominated by members of "the propertied middle class" under the Islamic Republic.
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The Last Election of Parliament of Iran were held in 14 March 2008.
Some 4,500 candidates nationwide were running for parliament's 290 seats vote, in which an estimated 44 million Iranians of over 18 years of age were eligible to vote.
With less than two-thirds of the 290 contests decided by March 15, conservatives had won 125 seats, reformers won 35 and independents won 10, according to news agency Fars. Another 39 winners were independents whose political leanings were not immediately known. Five other seats dedicated to Iran's Jewish, Zoroastrian and Christian minorities have been decided. Voter turnout in the first round is disputed. Government officials claim that as many as 65% of Iran's 49 million eligible voters took part, a solid turnout but not reaching the around 80% that flooded the polls in elections in the late 1990s and early 2000s. some conservative circles insisted that it was 73% or higher, "showing" popular support for the regime. "Yet the Ministry of the Interior's own figures indicated a national turnout of 52%, and no more than 30% in Tehran", roughly equivalent to 2004 turnout.
From amongst the 49 million eligible voters above 18 years of age announced by the Iran Statistics Center some 23 million Iranians, i.e. 47 percent, participated in the parliamentary elections of March 2, 2008. This is the lowest level when compared with the eight previous parliamentary elections. Of this amount, 30 percent of the voters came from large cities and provincial capitals while in Tehran which is the political nerve center of the country whose residents demonstrate the most political behavior, the number stood at 27 percent.  According to the government's final figures, 650,000 citizens of Tehran have taken part in the second round of the elections for the Majlis (Iranian parliament), that is less than 8% of those eligible to vote. A few months before the election on December 14, 2007, twenty-one moderate and reformist parties formed a coalition centered around Mohammad Khatami to increase their chances in the election. However, around 1,700 candidates were barred from running by the Guardian Council vetting body, the Supervisory and Executive Election Boards, on the grounds that they were not sufficiently loyal to the Iranian revolution. These included 90% of "independent and reformist candidates," 19 sitting MPs, and Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson, Ali Eshraghi. Consequently the election has been described as a "contest between conservatives who still support" president Ahmadinejad, and conservatives who don't, or "hard-liners generally in sync with Ahmadinejad and ... `pragmatic conservatives,` ... unsympathetic" to him.
Reformist leaders pushed for Iranians to vote in parliamentary elections, hoping to prevent a sweep by hard-liners allied with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Allies of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seized the largest share of parliament seats, vote counting nearly completed everywhere in the country except for the capital, Tehran, on March 16, 2008. Conservative critics of Ahmadinejad won a substantial bloc in the legislature, highlighting the growing discontent with the president's fiery style and failure to repair the ailing economy of Iran. Reformists, who seek greater democracy in Iran and closer ties with the West, showed strength in some cities where the clerical leadership allowed them to compete. Reformist leaders said March 16, 2008 that at least 14 winning independents are pro-reform, bringing their bloc to 45 seats so far. If correct, that would be around the size of the reformist presence in the outgoing parliament. Iran's leaders on March 16, 2008 declared the country's parliament elections, which were carried by conservatives, a victory that showed Iranians' defiance of the West. The United States and Europe called the vote unfair after most reformists were barred from running. 82 seats in which no candidate gained more than 25% of the vote in the first round held another round of voting on 25 April 2008; 11 of those seats were in Tehran. Of the 164 candidates, 69 are considered to be Conservative, 41 Reformists and 54 as Independents. Turnout in the second round was only about 25%.
Following the election, the 8th parliament opened on May 27, 2008. Issues in the election have been described as "unemployment, inflation and fuel shortages" in a petroleum-exporting country, and increasing inequality. "The price of some basic foods has doubled within the past year and rents are soaring." Influential conservative clerics are also said to be irritated by president Ahmadinejad's "folksy and superstitious brand of ostentatious piety and his favouritism to men of military rather than clerical backgrounds."
Currently, the Parliamet's 290 members, five of whom represent non-Muslim religious minorities, are popularly elected for four-year terms. The Parliament can force the dismissal of cabinet ministers by no-confidence votes and can impeach the president for misconduct in office. Although the executive proposes most new laws, individual deputies of the Parliament also may introduce legislation. Deputies also may propose amendments to bills being debated. The Parliament also drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget.
All People's House of Iran candidates and all legislation from the assembly must be approved by the Guardian Council. Candidates must pledge in writing that they are committed, in theory and in practice, to the Iranian constitution.
The Iranian dissident, Akbar Ganji has criticized the electoral process of Parliament for what he calls "rigged pseudoelections," where thousands of candidates are disqualified from running for office and dozens of seats are "earmarked in advance for specific conservative candidates". Others have also criticized it as less democratic in nature than the Shah's majlis or other governments in the region.
|Orientation of candidates||Seats (1st rd.)||Seats (2nd rd.)||Seats (Total)|
|Armenians recognized minority religion||2||2|
|Assyrian and Chaldean (Catholic) recognized minority religion||1||1|
|Jewish recognized minority religion||1||1|
|Zoroastrian recognized minority religion||1||1|
|Total (Turnout: 60%)||208||82||290|
From 1979, the Parliament had convened at the building that used to house the Iranian Senate. A new building was built for the Assembly at Baharestan Square in central Tehran, near the old Iranian Parliament's building that was used from 1906 to 1979. After several debates, the move was finally approved in 2004. The first session of the Parliament was held on 16 November 2004 in the new building.