Iran’s parliament is on track to more than double the number of women members, with potential benefits for reducing gender inequality in the male-dominated Islamic Republic.
So far, 14 women have made it to the Majlis, and analysts are estimating that there could be as many as 22 – out of a total membership of 290 -- after run-off elections this spring for seats in which no candidate got a majority.
The idiosyncrasies of this US campaign season aside, there are fundamental differences in the power of elected institutions in Iran, which are subservient to a clerical Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A body that is largely appointed by Khamenei, the Guardian Council, vets all candidates for elected office and weeds out anyone not considered sufficiently loyal to the system.
Still, Iranians have again shown their ability to make lemonade out of the lemons provided by the Islamic Republic. According to the latest results available from the February 26 elections, there have been major gains for supporters of President Hassan Rouhani in both the parliament and the Assembly of Experts, a body that could be called on to approve Khamenei’s successor.