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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Guide: How Iran votes
Military police campaign in Tehran
Clear loyalties: Military police parade posters of Ayatollahs Khamenei and Khomeini
Iran's eighth presidential election takes place on 8 June. Also being contested on the same day are 17 by-elections for parliamentary seats undecided since the legislative elections in February 2000 and two seats on the powerful, conservative-dominated Assembly of Experts.

BBC News Online explains the mechanism of the elections.

Key dates

  • All candidates registered between 2-6 May
  • Guardian Council vetted candidates from 7 to 11 May
  • Final results of vetting process were announced on 18 May
  • Electoral campaign runs from 19 May to 6 June
  • Voting on 8 June.

Vetting process

Candidates for all elections in Iran are vetted for eligibility, first by the Executive Election Boards affiliated to the Interior Ministry and then by Supervisory Election Boards affiliated to the Guardian Council.

Click here for an analysis of the people and policies in Iran's presidential election.

Potential candidates are judged according to tangible criteria such as educational qualifications, experience and being neither too old nor too young.

There are also more contentious and intangible criteria, such as "practical commitment to the system".

The vetting process is generally controversial and, in recent elections, has been the source of much bad blood between the reformist-controlled Interior Ministry and the conservative-held Guardian Council.

The candidates

More than 100 people registered their candidacy for the presidential race, including two women. Most of them were rejected by the Guardian Council, but incumbent President Mohammad Khatami is being challenged by an unusually large field of nine other candidates, most of them independent conservatives.

  • Mohammad Khatami (reformist): Incumbent.
  • Ali Fallahian (conservative): Intelligence minister under former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani. Campaign slogan: moving Towards Post-Industrial Development. Declared aims: strengthening the executive's management by reforming regulations and reducing the number of laws; controlling inflation; reducing taxes.
  • Hassan Ghaffourifard (conservative): Member of Islamic Association of Engineers and a former member of parliament. Declared aims: "raising the country's level of learning in order to join the world's scientific convoy", tackling various problems such as marriage, education, employment and sports for the young.
  • Mostafa Hashemi-Taba (centrist): Vice-president and head of Physical Training Organisation under Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami. He is a founding member of the Executives of Construction Party. Declared aims: implementing the third five-year plan, implementing the system's overall policies.
  • Abdollah Jasbi (conservative): Head of Islamic Azad University, a member of the Islamic Coalition Association, which is associated with the Tehran bazaar. Campaign slogan: a happy Iran for a thriving tomorrow with knowledge and ability.
  • Mahmud Kashani (conservative): University lecturer and jurist. Declared aims: combating economic problems, unemployment, inflation and poverty; "seriously and decisively combating social problems which have resulted from statesmen's incorrect policies in recent years"; respecting the rights of the people and establishing the rule of law; changing the country's current "dispiriting course".
  • Mansur Razavi (conservative): Tehran city councillor and former head of Employment Affairs Organisation. Campaign slogan: formation of a government of national consensus. Declared aims: building an Iran worthy of Iranians and forming a government of national consensus with decisive and effective officials, combating poverty, expanding political and social freedoms, bringing about a new state managerial system and strengthening regional administrations.
  • Shahabeddin Sadr (conservative): Head of the Administrative Medical Association and a former member of parliament. Campaign slogan: towards Islamic Iran's new civilisation. Declared aims: informed participation by everyone in the running of the country; fundamental, true and Islamic reforms; lasting, comprehensive and balanced political, economic, social and cultural development.
  • Ali Shamkhani (conservative): Defence minister. Campaign slogan: bringing about security and reforms in the framework of political calm, national solidarity and social well-being.
  • Ahmad Tavakkoli (conservative): Former labour minister and managing director of the no-longer published daily Farda. Declared aims: Combating "political apartheid", combating economic and political privileges, creating changes in the administration of the country "on the basis of reason and justice", rebuilding public support by making the state managerial system effective, changing poorly performing state managers and using competent officials.

Parliamentary by-elections

The 290-seat parliament is currently held by the reformists with a comfortable majority. Parliamentarians are elected under a constituency system.

Women in Tehran walk past a wall of election posters
Candidates are expressly forbidden from engaging in negative campaigning
Seventeen parliamentary seats have remained vacant since early last year because some of the original constituency results were annulled by the Guardian Council.

Three seats are vacant because the elected deputies' credentials were rejected by the parliament.

One seat is vacant because former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani resigned his seat after the controversy surrounding his election.

In several cases the Guardian Council annulled the votes from up to 30 ballot boxes, thereby changing the result in favour of a conservative candidate.

Some campaign rules

  • Public campaigning and the display of placards or posters is restricted to designated public areas
  • Political rallies are required to take the form of speeches by candidates and question-and-answer sessions
  • Tearing, destroying or defacing campaign material displayed legally during the official campaign period is forbidden
  • Candidates and their supporters are strictly forbidden from engaging in negative campaigning against other candidates and may only publicise their own policies or qualities
  • The use of government and public resources and facilities for campaigning is forbidden. This includes the use of radio and television.

    Assembly of Experts

    The 86-seat Assembly of Experts, currently in its third eight-year term, is overwhelmingly dominated by conservatives.

    Many aspiring reformist candidates did not survive the Guardian Council's vetting process in the last assembly election in October 1998.

    For the first time, the aspiring candidates for the assembly of experts include one woman. The Guardian Council has not yet ruled on whether she will be allowed to stand.

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