Nabz-Iran Election Central 2016
On Friday, February 26, 2016, Iranians voted in elections for the Islamic Consultative Assembly, or Majles, and the Assembly of Experts. An estimated 62 percent of eligible Iranians across the country turned out to cast a ballot in these elections, which were the first elections after the historic nuclear deal as well as the first time that the Majles and the Assembly of Experts were elected simultaneously. Despite broad disqualifications of candidates (roughly half of the 12,000 or so registered candidates were actually approved), which particularly affected reformists, the competitiveness of the elections and the outcomes surprised many. A broad coalition of reformists, moderates, and others who support the administration of President Hassan Rouhani was able to rally voters around candidate lists (called the Hope List); in Tehran, for example, candidates from this list won all 30 available seats. As a result, following runoff elections held on April 29, this coalition now holds a plurality in the Majles, whereas Principlists suffered significant losses. Meanwhile, a third bloc of parliamentarians unaffiliated with either group could hold the key to which direction this Majles takes. These independents include the 5 seats that, in accordance with the Iranian Constitution, are allocated to recognized religious minorities.
The issue of women in the Majles was particularly notable in the conversations and campaigns leading up to and during the elections. In the end, 17 women won seats in the new Majles, and the final total could have been 18, but Minoo Khaleghi, who was elected from Isfahan, had her credentials retroactively rejected by the Guardian Council. In any case, this is still the highest number of women in Iran's parliament since the Islamic Revolution.
Ahead of the elections, Nabz-Iran developed a series of resources relating to the electoral process in Iran, including multimedia, analytical pieces, and infographics. These resources examine the ability of Iranian citizens to participate fully in the electoral process, with a special focus on women. After the elections, Nabz-Iran analyzed the election results at the district level and identified in which districts the unfair distribution of Majles seats might have ultimately affected the ultimate composition of the new Majles, including where it disadvantaged the Hope List, the Principlists, or neither.
Why Participate in Elections? (Animation)
In this episode of City Conversations, Ali, Reza, and Parisa debate and share their opinions on the election, voting, and women’s role in parliament. This animation has been shared and viewed over 100,000 times through social media, including Facebook and Telegram.
The Provincialization of Elections and the Future of the Electoral Process in Iran
This analysis weighs the pros and cons of a pending bill that would convert Iran’s 31 provinces into parliamentary electoral districts, so that Iranians could vote for and be represented by all candidates running from their province, rather than from their smaller constituencies, of which there are currently 290.
Majles Seats and the Challenge of Fair Distribution
Each electoral district has a given ratio between the number of Majles representatives allocated to it and its population. In Iran, however, this ratio can vary widely from one district to another. As a result, Iranians in some parts of the country are over-represented in the Majles while others end up with less of a say, a discrepancy that flouts the principle of equal voting power as laid out in the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters.
How Social Networks Reflect Women’s Voices around Elections
Given the lack of free media in Iran, social networks represent an opportunity for Iranian citizens to voice their unfiltered views on social and political issues. This study looks at Iranian Twitter users, gathering and mapping their tweets relating to the discussion on women and elections over a four-week period in January and February. The results reveal the demands and topics most commonly expressed within the context of these conversations.
The Composition of the Tenth Majles and the Geography of Political Bases in Iran
Mapping the results of the 2016 Majles elections offers a way to find out more about Iran's diversity. In which cities and regions did voters show an affinity for the Hope List, and where did they prefer the Principlists? In which areas did neither of the main political factions win the trust of voters? And did the unfair distribution of Majles seats affect outcomes for the two main political factions?
The Growing Representation of Women in Parliament: Comparing Iran with Neighboring Countries and North Africa (infographic)
At the beginning of the 21st Century, the percentage of women in the Iranian Majles was in line with figures from parliaments in neighboring countries and North Africa (i.e., Muslim-majority countries with comparable cultures). As this infographic shows though, Iran quickly fell behind the pace of change in the region, and women’s representation in the Majles is now well below the regional average.
Nabz-Iran mapped the results of the election at the district level and also developed maps showing the unfair distribution of seats in Iran, as well as showing how this distribution may have affected the outcomes of the election and the ultimate composition of the new Majles. For details on results from the 2009 and 2013 Iranian presidential elections, please refer to the Nabz-Iran elections maps.