2020 Iranian legislative election

← 2016 21 February and 11 September 2020 2024 →

All 290 seats to the Islamic Consultative Assembly
146 seats needed for a majority
Turnout42.57%[1] (19.07 pp Fall)
  First party Second party
Leader Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel Hassan Rouhani
Seats won 177 29
Popular vote 12,897,296 1,715,682
Percentage 52.62% 7%

  Third party Fourth party
Leader Morteza Aghatehrani Gholamhossein Karbaschi
Seats won 8 2
Popular vote 1,611,116 487,422
Percentage 6.57% 2%

Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran following the 2020 elections
Composition of the Assembly following the election

Speaker before election

Ali Larijani

Elected Speaker

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

Legislative elections were held in Iran on 21 February 2020, four years after the previous legislative election in 2016.[2] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, the second round, to elect eleven seats, was postponed until 11 September 2020.[3]

Candidates had to be approved by the Guardian Council, and of the 14,000 applying to run for the Islamic Consultative Assembly legislature, 6,850 were rejected,[4] including 90 current members of the Assembly (who were approved to run in the last election). "Moderates and conservatives" were mostly rejected by the Council and "hardliners" approved (according to Parisa Hefzi);[4] while another observer believed some of the rejected were corrupt and others lacking sufficient loyalty to the regime.[5]


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Electoral system

Main article: Elections in Iran

The 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly consists of 285 directly elected members and five seats reserved for the Zoroastrians, Jews, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians and Armenians (one for Armenians in the north of Iran and one for Armenians in the south).[6] The 285 directly elected seats were elected from 196 single and multi-member constituencies. In single-member constituencies candidates had to receive at least 25% of the vote in the first round to be elected; in cases where no candidate passed the threshold, a second round is held between the top two candidates. In multi-member constituencies, voters cast as many votes as there are seats available; if not all seats are filled by candidates with at least 25% of the vote, a second round is held with twice the number of candidates as there are seats to be filled (or all the original candidates if there are fewer than double the number of seats).[6]


According to Iranian law, in order to qualify as a candidate one must:[6]

A candidate will be disqualified if he/she is found to be mentally impaired, actively supporting the Shah or supporting political parties and organizations deemed illegal or been charged with anti-government activity, converted to another faith or has otherwise renounced the Islamic faith, have been found guilty of corruption, treason, fraud, bribery, is an addict or trafficker or have been found guilty of violating Sharia law.[6] Also, candidates must be literate; candidates cannot have played a role in the pre-1979 government, be large landowners, drug addicts or have convictions relating to actions against the state or apostasy. Government ministers, members of the Guardian Council and High Judicial Council are banned from running for office, as is the Head of the Administrative Court of Justice, the Head of General Inspection, some civil servants and religious leaders and any member of the armed forces.[6]

Contesting groups

A total of 14,444 people applied to be candidates in the election and were vetted by the Guardian Council. Of these, 7,296 (51%) were disqualified, including 75% of the members of the outgoing assembly who had applied to stand again. As a result, the election was considered to be a contest between conservatives such as former Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who describes himself as a "technocrat," and ultra-conservatives opposed to the nuclear deal.[7][8] Reformists were described as having no compromise for their strategy.[clarification needed][9]

Faction List Parties
Conservatives Coalition Council of Islamic Revolution Forces (Proud Iran)[10] Progress and Justice Population of Islamic Iran
Society of Devotees of the Islamic Revolution
Society of Pathseekers of the Islamic Revolution
Islamic Coalition Party
Development and Justice Party
Society of Veterans of the Islamic Revolution
People's Coalition[11]
Front of Islamic Revolution Stability[10]
Campaign for Justice-seeking Parliament[12]
Economy and People's Livelihood[10]
Reformists Friends of Hashemi[10] Executives of Construction Party
Moderation and Development Party
Coalition of Eight Reformist Parties (Coalition for Iran)[10] Democracy Party
Worker House
Islamic Labour Party
Islamic Iran Solidarity Party
NEDA Party
Islamic Association of Teachers of Iran
Assembly of Educators of Islamic Iran
National Unity and Cooperation Party of Islamic Iran
Freedom Party


See also: 2019–20 Iranian protests

The Iranian opposition urged their fellow citizens not to vote in the elections, which they describe as a "sham", calling on them to instead work to overthrow the regime. A prominent human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, has made an appeal to voters from Evin prison to boycott the elections.[13] In Tehran and some other areas, the moderate bloc boycotted in protest over the disqualifications.[14]

A poll by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) indicated that over 44 percent of the respondents across Tehran province say they will definitely not take part in elections, with only 21 percent saying they definitely will.[15]

The exiled communist Tudeh Party of Iran called for boycott of the election.[16]


On 27 January 2020, Mahmoud Sadeghi, a former member of Iran's parliament and a candidate for this year's elections, has announced in a tweet that middlemen have asked him for up to $300,000 to have him pass inspection by the Guardian Council.[17]

On 2 February 2020, Iranian news agency ILNA quoted Ali Hashemi, former Iran's chief of the Drug Control Agency, saying that investigations from a wealthy drug smuggler showed he has spent a lot of his dirty money on Iran's parliamentary elections. In some small cities, Hashemi stated, parliamentary seats can be bought for about US$300,000.[18]


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See also: Iranian legislative election, 2020 (Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Eslamshahr)

The Conservatives won a landslide and swept all 30 seats in the constituency including Tehran and its suburbs.[19]

Fars News Agency published unofficial preliminary tallies, reporting that out of 183 decided seats the conservatives won 135 while the independents were at 28 and the reformists only had 20.[20] It updated the numbers for 241 decided seats as 191 won by conservatives, plus 34 and 16 for independents and reformists respectively.[21] Anadolu Agency reported that out of 253 seats that were counted, 195 went to the conservatives and the reformists had 20. The rest of 40 winners were independents.[22]

Fatemeh Rahbar and Mohammad Ali Ramazani Dastak died due to COVID-19 before they could take office.[23][24]

First round

Out of 57,918,159 registered voters, 24,512,404 voted, resulting in a turnout of 42.57%.[25] 167,809 votes were invalid.

Faction Seats %
Conservatives 221 76.20
Reformists 20 6.89
Independents 38 13.10
Total 279 96.20
Undecided seats 11 3.79
Source: ICANA (quoted by WSJ)[19]


Source: Ministry of Interior[26]
Province %
Alborz 28.41
Ardabil 50.29
East Azerbaijan 42.83
West Azerbaijan 58.23
Bushehr 46.81
Esfahan 36.38
Fars 45.11
Gilan 41.96
Golestan 57.15
Hamadan 44.81
Hormozgan 52.51
Ilam 60.89
Kerman 50.56
Kermanshah 45.85
North Khorasan 57.21
Razavi Khorasan 48.17
South Khorasan 66.12
Khuzestan 42.96
Kohgiluyeh and Buyer Ahmad 70.66
Kurdistan 32.65
Lorestan 47.58
Markazi 39.71
Mazandaran 45.65
Qazvin 42.19
Qom 43.02
Semnan 57.45
Sistan and Baluchestan 60.68
Tehran 26.24
Yazd 47.90
Zanjan 48.63

The national turnout was 42%,[14] the lowest since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Second round

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, the second round, to elect ten seats (eleven minus one seat which was invalidated), was postponed until 11 September 2020.

Faction Seats %
Conservatives 5 56.09
Reformists 1 2.22
Independents 4 41.69
Total 10 100.00
Uncontested 1
Source: ICANA (quoted by WSJ)[19]

Intermediate election

On 18 June 2021, elections for deceased parliamentarians and revoked districts and those whose credentials had not been approved, were held concurrently with the presidential and local elections. Conservatives won all six seats.


The new speaker of Iran's Parliament will likely be former Tehran Mayor and former police chief Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who will replace the current holder of the position Ali Larijani. Initial estimates said over 220 out of the 290 seats will be held by hardliners.[27][28] Reasons for the hardliner victory included a continuing poor domestic economic situation under the reformists, the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA nuclear deal and the re-imposition of US sanctions thereafter (also partially contributing to the poor economic situation), the absence of a unified reformist strategy and low number of reformist candidates due to disqualification by the Guardian Council, public disillusionment as a result of the 2019–20 protests and the downing of a Ukrainian airliner as well as a lack of government transparency, and the recent killing of general Qasem Soleimani. Turnout was estimated to be the lowest since the 1979 revolution, hovering only slightly over 42% nationally. Turnout in cities, which previously helped the reformists to victory in 2016, fell to as low as 25%.[29][30] In comparison, national turnout in 2016 was 62%. Khamenei stated the low turnout was due to "negative propaganda" about the coronavirus, spread by Iran's enemies.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Hafezi, Parisa (23 February 2020), Fletcher, Philippa; Merriman, Jane; Maclean, William (eds.), "Iran announces low poll turnout, blames coronavirus 'propaganda'", Reuters, retrieved 1 March 2020
  2. ^ "Parliamentary Elections Set for Feb. 2020", Financial Tribune, 27 February 2019, retrieved 25 October 2019
  3. ^ "Rouhani urges Iran MPs to 'cooperate' as parliament opens". Yahoo News Australia. Agence-France Presse. May 2020. Archived from the original on 13 September 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b Hafezi, Parisa (13 February 2020). "Iran starts election campaign with thousands barred from standing". Reuters. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  5. ^ Filkins, Dexter (18 May 2020). "The Twilight of the Iranian Revolution". New Yorker. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e Electoral system IPU
  7. ^ "Iran's parliament: What you need to know". Jordan Times. 16 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Mired In Corruption, Iranian Neo-Cons Eye 2020 Parliamentary Elections", RFE/RL, 20 June 2019, retrieved 25 October 2019
  9. ^ "Iran's 2020 Parliamentary Elections: Lower Participation and Competition, but Higher Levels of Irregularities", International Institute for Iranian Studies, 12 September 2019, retrieved 25 October 2019
  10. ^ a b c d e Matsunaga, Yasuyuki (17 February 2020), "Iran Majles Election Analytics (February 2020)", Interdisciplinary Research Unit for Global Democratic Change (GDC), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, retrieved 1 March 2020[dead link]
  11. ^ Jafari, Saeid (19 February 2020), "With election rivals barred, Iran's hard-liners resort to infighting", Al-Monitor, retrieved 25 February 2020
  12. ^ Faghihi, Rohollah (20 February 2020), Far-left current rises from among Iranian hardliners, Al-Monitor, retrieved 22 February 2020
  13. ^ "Prominent Activist In Prison Calls On Iranians To Boycott February Elections". RFE/RL. 5 February 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "The Iranian regime risks exacerbating the outbreak of covid-19". The Economist. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Iranians to Protest Coming Polls by Not Voting". Al Bawaba. TRT World. 12 February 2020. Archived from the original on 16 February 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  16. ^ Sweeney, Steve (22 February 2020). "Iranian communists join mass boycott of 'sham' Iranian elections". Morning Star. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Iran Lawmaker Alleges Middlemen Take Bribes To Help Approval of Candidates". RFE/RL. 27 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Iran's Former Anti-Narcotics Chief Says 'Dirty Money' Influences Elections". RFE/RL. 2 February 2020.
  19. ^ a b c Eqbali, Aresu; Rasmussen, Sune Engel (23 February 2020), "Iran's Conservatives Win Elections After Record-Low Turnout, Disqualifications", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved 5 March 2020
  20. ^ Conservatives ahead as Iran poll results trickle in, France24, 23 February 2020, retrieved 5 March 2020
  21. ^ "Conservatives ahead as Iran poll results trickle in", Agence France-Presse, Egypt Independent, 23 February 2020, retrieved 5 March 2020
  22. ^ Kursun, Muhammet; Aydin, Havva Kara (23 February 2020), "Iran: Conservatives win majority of seats in parliament", Anadolu Agency, retrieved 5 March 2020
  23. ^ "As it happened: Coronavirus infections near 100,000 globally". BBC. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  24. ^ "Newly elected Iranian MP dies of 'flu' amid coronavirus outbreak". Al Arabiya English. 1 March 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  25. ^ "نزدیک به ۱۰ میلیون نفر در استان تهران واجد شرایط رای هستند". ایرنا (in Persian). 17 February 2020. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Iran's Interior Ministry discloses voter turnout of provinces in parliamentary elections", Trend News Agency, AzerNews, 1 March 2020, retrieved 5 March 2020
  27. ^ Ibrahim, Arwa (23 February 2020). "Iran conservatives prevail in polls marked by low turnout". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  28. ^ Shahla, Arsalan (23 February 2020). "Iran's hardliners win election by large margin, Mehr says". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 23 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  29. ^ Sengupta, Kim (22 February 2020). "Iran elections expected to end with hardline victory for nationalists and religious conservatives". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  30. ^ Bozorgmehr, Najmeh (22 February 2020). "Iran's hardliners head for sweeping election victory". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 February 2020.