Candidates started registering Saturday to stand in Iran’s March legislative elections in a process vetted by the Guardian’s Council, the Islamic republic’s electoral watchdog.
“We recommend to candidates to come forward to serve the people and to keep the success of the Islamic revolution in mind,” the ministry’s website quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying.
Registration was to continue to December 30, but the interior ministry urged would-be candidates to not wait until the last day.
The Guardians Council, made up of clerics and jurists, determines which applicants can be candidates in the election for the 290-seat parliament. It is also responsible for endorsing the final results of the March 2, 2012 poll.
Candidates are required to be Iranian citizens aged 30-75 who are loyal to the constitution, including its recognition of the absolute authority of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.
Iran’s current legislature is dominated by conservatives, with only around 60 reformists in the house.
The parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, has repeatedly criticised the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, especially on the economy.
The March poll will be the first since the 2009 presidential election which saw Ahmadinejad announced the winner over opposition claims the vote was rigged, triggering widespread mass protests.