On February 26, Iranians will go to the polls to elect 88 jurisprudential experts out of more than 800 prospective candidates for the 5th Assembly of Experts.
The first elections for the Assembly of Experts were held in December 1982 and the Assembly convened in 1983. Seventy-six of the total 83 members were elected in the first round, the rest in the second.
In March 1979, a national referendum was held with the question "Islamic Republic, yes or no.” Some 98.2 percent of the voters said "yes". Following this victory, the Iranian constitution of 1906 was declared invalid and a new constitution for an Islamic Republic was drafted and ratified by a referendum during the first week of December in 1979.
The current Assembly of Experts, which is the fourth one, was elected in December 2006. In July that year, the chairman of the body Ayatollah Ali Meshkini passed away, and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and parliament speaker, was chosen to succeed him.
On March 8, 2011, Ayatollah Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani replaced Ayatollah Rafsanjani as the chairman.
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi was appointed the new chairman of the Assembly in March last year after the passing away of Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani.
The term began in 2007 and was to last a regular eight years but due to the government’s plan to cut back on electoral spending and in what’s seen as aggregating elections, the fourth Assembly of Experts has served a 10-year term as an exception.
This has let the government arrange a double election process in late February 2016 to hold elections for the 10th Majlis (parliament) and the 5th Assembly of Experts.
The qualifications criteria for the senior clerical body include Islamic scholarship, justice, piety, political discernment and social perspicacity, prudence, courage and adequate capability for the task itself.
Watch the full video of this episode below: