1980 Iranian legislative election

Parliamentary elections were held in Iran on 13 March 1980, with a second round on 9 May.[4] They were the first elections to the Majlis since the overthrow of the Shah, and were contested to a considerable degree on a party basis.[5]

1980 Iranian legislative election
Flag of Iran (1964–1980).svg
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All 270 seats to the National Consultative Assembly
136 seats are needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Mohammad Beheshti 1980.jpg Abolhassan Banisadr portrait 1980 1.jpg PM Bazargan photographed during a Television program - 1979.jpg
Leader Mohammad Beheshti Abolhassan Banisadr Mehdi Bazargan
Alliance Grand Coalition President Office Eponym Group
Leader's seat Did not Stand Did not Stand Tehran, Rey and Shemiranat
Seats won 85 33 20
Percentage 31.48% 12.12% 7.40%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  KarimSanjabi.jpg Masoud Rajavi 1970's.jpg Kianouri1981.jpeg
Leader Karim Sanjabi Massoud Rajavi Noureddin Kianouri
Party People's Mujahedin Tudeh Party
Alliance National Front Progressive Revolutionary Candidates
Leader's seat Kermanshah (withdrew) Tehran, Rey and Shemiranat (defeated) Tehran, Rey and Shemiranat (defeated)
Seats won 4[a] 0 0
Percentage 1.48% 0% 0%

Elected Prime Minister

Mohammad-Ali Rajai
Islamic Republican Party

It resulted in a victory for the Islamic Republican Party, which won 85 of the 270 seats, whilst its allies won a further 45.[4] The party, joined by smaller Islamist groups in the Grand coalition was a highly organized force and put up candidates in most constituencies and dominated the campaigns, especially in the provinces.[6]

President Abolhassan Banisadr and his followers, presented dozens of candidates in Tehran and provinces under the list Office for the Cooperation of the People with the President.[6]

The Freedom Movement of Iran which failed to organize effectively, fielded at most only 40 candidates under the banner of Eponym Group[6] and won about 20 seats.[5]

Among National Front candidates, four won the election but their credentials was rejected on the grounds such as being "landlord" or "American agent" and they were not allowed to take their seat. Its leader Karim Sanjabi withdrew in the run-off because of the alleged "irregularities".[2][3]

Under the name Progressive Revolutionary Candidates list, People's Mujahedin of Iran endorsed 127 nominees nationwide and the official counts gave them as much as 20% of the votes in some constituencies, however they failed to win any seats. Its leader Massoud Rajavi received 531,943 votes in Tehran but was defeated in the run-offs.[7]

Tudeh Party lacked popularity and did poorly,[8] with their highest ranked candidate in Tehran receiving only some 100,000 votes. The party was unable to persuade other left-wing groups to unite.[9]

Electoral systemEdit

The constitution approved in a December 1979 referendum provided for a 270-seat Majlis, with five seats reserved for minority groups including Jews, Zoroastrians, Armenians from the north and south of the country and one jointly elected by Assyrians and Chaldeans.[10]

As there was no electoral law at the time of the elections, they were held in accordance with a proposal from the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Council of the Revolution.[10] However, the elections were postponed in 23 constituencies in Kurdistan Province and Sistan and Balochistan Province.[10]


137 of the elected MPs were clerics.[11]

Ettela'at newspaper (1980)
Fraction % Seats
Independents 42.59% 115
Grand Coalition 31.48% 85
Office for the Cooperation of the People with the President 12.12% 33
Eponym Group 7.40% 20
Total 100% 270
Source: Ettela'at[12]
Thapar (1980)
Camp Total seats
Islamic Republican Party 130
Supporters of Banisadr (claimed) 74
Independents, Centrists and Seculars 38
Vacant 28
Total 242
Source: R. S. Thapar[13]
Abrahamian (1989)
Fraction Seats
Islamic Republican Party 120
Pro-Banisadr 33
Independents 33
Freedom Movement 20
National Front 5
Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan 2
Total 216
Source: Abrahamian[14]
Nohlen et al (2001)
Party Votes % Seats
Islamic Republican Party 85
Islamic Republican Party allies 45
Independents 140
Invalid/blank votes
Total 10,874,470 100 270
Registered voters/turnout 21,749,000 50.00
Source: Nohlen et al[4]


  1. ^ Ahmad Madani (Kerman), Khosrow Qashqai (Shiraz), Ali Ardalan (Tuiserkan) and Abolfazl Qassemi (Dargaz). Credentials of all were rejected. National Front member Ahmad Salamatian (Isfahan) ran under the banner of President Office.[2][3]
  1. ^ a b "1980 Parliamentary Election", The Iran Social Science Data Portal, Princeton University, archived from the original on 30 May 2012, retrieved 10 August 2015
  2. ^ a b Baktiari, Bahman (1996). Parliamentary Politics in Revolutionary Iran: The Institutionalization of Factional Politics. University Press of Florida. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-8130-1461-6.
  3. ^ a b Houchang E. Chehabi (1990). Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran Under the Shah and Khomeini. I.B.Tauris. p. 286. ISBN 978-1850431985.
  4. ^ a b c Nohlen, Dieter; Grotz, Florian; Hartmann, Christof (2001), "Iran", Elections in Asia: A Data Handbook, I, Oxford University Press, pp. 68, 74, ISBN 978-0-19-924958-9
  5. ^ a b Bakhash, Shaul (13 December 2011) [December 15, 1998]. "ELECTIONS ii. UNDER THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC, 1979-92". In Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica. 4. VIII. New York City: Bibliotheca Persica Press. pp. 345–355. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Houchang E. Chehabi (1990). Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran Under the Shah and Khomeini. I.B.Tauris. p. 284. ISBN 978-1850431985.
  7. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "The Majles elections (February–May 1980)", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, pp. 199–205, ISBN 9781850430773
  8. ^ Muriel Atkin (1983), "Soviet Relations with the Islamic Republic", SAIS Review, 3 (1): 190
  9. ^ Aryeh Yodfat (2012), The Soviet Union and Revolutionary Iran (RLE Iran D), Routledge Library Editions: Iran, Taylor & Francis, p. 85, ISBN 9781136833700
  10. ^ a b c Iran IPU
  11. ^ James W Heslep The Decline of Clerics in the Iranian Majles Archived 12 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ R. S. Thapar (1980), "Iranian Parliamentary Elections: A Setback to President Bani Sadr", Strategic Analysis, 4 (4): 166–170, doi:10.1080/09700168009421604
  14. ^ Ervand Abrahamian (1989), "The Islamic Republic", Radical Islam: the Iranian Mojahedin, Society and culture in the modern Middle East, 3, I.B.Tauris, p. 62, ISBN 9781850430773