Even if one puts the general label "pro-Supreme Leader" and "pro-Ahmadinejad" on the factions, this outcome --- at least in the numbers for the blocs --- is far from the clear victory for Ayatollah Khamenei that international media were proclaiming at the weekend.
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The regime's Get Out the Vote video, calling for a high turnout as a "hard slap" to Iran's enemies
There are 290 seats in the Iranian Majlis, with members serving four-year terms. The chamber is officially led by a speaker.
There are no political parties as such; instead, blocs or factions can emerge. The Parliament is dominated by "conservatives" and "principlists", a term usually applied to the political wave since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005.
"Reformists", who were prominent in the legislature during the Presidency of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), have been squeezed into a weak minority group of about 50-60 representatives. That number is likely to fall sharply in the next Majlis.
In today's first round, voters will choose names from dozens of lists of candidates. Allocated seats range from 30 for Tehran to one for Iran's smallest towns and villages, so a voter in the capital can write up to 30 names whereas the process elsewhere is far simpler.
Any candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote in his/her district is elected. Those who receive less than 50% but above a minimum standard will be on the ballot for a second round of voting in about two weeks.
THE MAJOR LISTS
This should be prefaced with the note that the lists are not as important today as the individuals who may or may not emerge from them.