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History of Iran's Parliaments

06 Sep 2011 20:35Comments
2363.jpg[ feature ] This is the second in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012:

First parliament (1980-1984)

Speaker: Yadollah Sahabi (for one month in mid-1980); Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1980 to 1984)

Political trends: The first parliament was the most eclectic. It included deputies from the liberal Freedom Movement, which was later banned.

Second parliament (1984-1988)

Speaker: Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1984-1988)

Political trends: The second parliament was almost completely taken over by the cleric-dominated Islamic Republican Party (IRP). But divisions within the IRP created a raucous and feisty atmosphere.

Third parliament (1988-1992)

Speaker: Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (April 1988 to August 1989); Mehdi Karroubi (August 1989 to May 1992)

Political trends: The third parliament was elected after a split among clerical groups and the 1986 disbanding of the IRP, so the new members mostly came from groups on the left of the political spectrum.

Fourth parliament (1992-1996)

Speaker: Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri (1992-1996)

Political trends: Candidates for the fourth parliament were heavily vetted by the Guardian Council, which paved the way for a takeover by conservative forces.

Fifth parliament (1996-2000)

Speaker: Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri (1996-2000)

Political trends: The highly contentious election for the fifth parliament created a Majles with relative balance between conservatives and a new political centrist organization called the Servants of Construction.

Sixth parliament (2000-2004)

Speaker: Mehdi Karroubi (2000-2004)

Political trends: Reformist President Mohammad Khatami was elected in 1997, which contributed to a decisive victory for reformists in the sixth parliament.

Seventh parliament (2004-2008)

Speaker: Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel (2004-2008)

Political trends: The Guardian Council's wholesale disqualification of reformist candidates set the stage for the return of conservatives to power in the seventh parliament.

Eighth parliament (2008- )

Speaker: Ali Larijani (2008- )

Political trends: The conservative dominance continued in the eighth parliament, again through aggressive vetting of reformist candidates by the Guardian Council.

Excerpts taken from Farideh Farhi's chapter on Iran's parliament in "The Iran Primer." This article is presented by Tehran Bureau, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as part of the Iran project at iranprimer.usip.org.

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