Tehran [Iran], March 1 (ANI): Voting began on Friday in Iran for the 12th term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) and the 6th term of the Assembly of Leadership Experts, Al Jazeera reported. It is the first parliamentary election since the protests held in Iran over its mandatory hijab laws after the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini.

Over 15,000 candidates are contesting for a seat in the 290-member parliament, formally known as the Islamic Consultative Assembly. Voters will also elect the 88-member Assembly of Experts, a key body that appoints the supreme leader, according to Al Jazeera report.

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (84) has held the post of Iran's Supreme Leader since 1989. A total of 144 candidates have been given nod to contest for seats in the assembly for an eight-year term. Polls opened in Iran at 8 am local time and will close at 6 pm (local time).

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast his vote during the polls on Friday, according to Al Jazeera report. Earlier in the day, Iranian Ministry said, "Voting for the 12th term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) and the 6th term of the Assembly of Leadership Experts began following an order by the interior ministry," Al Jazeera reported citing State TV.

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Among the total candidates contesting the polls, some 13 percent of the contenders are women. Out of Iran's population of over 85 million, some 61 million people are eligible to vote in the single-round elections. There are about 59,000 polling stations in Iran, particularly in schools and mosques, with 1,700 to facilitate digital voting.

The polls in Iran come amid rising economic difficulties and as Iran grapples with the aftershocks of months-long protests triggered by the death in custody of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini in 2022. Iran's economy has been reeling under the US government's sanctions over its contested nuclear programme.

Many people in Iran have been struggling to make both ends meet as they grapple with rising inflation and depreciation of Iran's currency rial against the US dollar, Al Jazeera reported.

Notably, every four years, people cast vote to elect lawmakers to fill 290 seats in Iran's parliament, while the selection for the 88 seats in the Assembly of Experts, takes place every eight years.

People cast vote for their districts' approved candidates, who have already been vetted by the 12-member Guardian Council, Al Jazeera reported. Some seats might need a second round of voting, which takes place at a time agreed upon between the Interior Ministry and the council within one month after the polls.

The final results are also verified by the council. Any legislation that gets the clearance from the parliament needs to be approved by the council as well before being sent to the government for implementation. (ANI)

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