In the last parliamentary elections, in 2004, conservative opponents of reformist President Mohammad Khatami captured an overwhelming majority of the seats at stake -- including in liberal-leaning Tehran. A runoff strengthened conservatives' hand, increasing their total to 190, while reformists held 50 seats, independents 45, and religious minorities five.
Disqualifications Authorities reportedly had barred some 2,500 reform-minded candidates from competing.
Perceptions Abroad The voting was seen as cementing hard-liners' grip on power while delivering a sharp rebuke to Khatami, whose moderate image had provided hope for supporters of economic liberalization. The European Union decried the voting as undemocratic before final results had even come in, warning of a fallout.
In the parliamentary elections of 2000, would-be reformers backing Khatami crush conservatives in February 2000 to take control of parliament on the back of an election turnout of over 67 percent, handing Khatami a mandate to carry out his program of social, political, and economic reforms. The showing meant that hard-liners were ousted from control of parliament for the first time since the 1979 revolution. After a runoff, reformists ended up with 170 seats, conservatives 45, and independents 10.
Disqualifications The Guardians Council had eventually disqualified nearly 700 candidates from the running.
Perceptions Abroad EU members had decided to normalize relations with Tehran after Khatami's accession to the presidency. The United States called the result a "hopeful sign for the West" and expressed cautious encouragement for the "reformists."