Iranian local elections, 2003

City and Village Councils elections

28 February 2003 (2003-02-28)

905 City and 34,205 Village Councils
Registered 41,501,783[1]
Turnout 49.96%[1]

Alliance Principlists Reformists

Speaker of the Supreme Provinces Council before election

Mohsen Beheshti-Seresht[2]

Elected Speaker of the Supreme Provinces Council

Mansour Roshanasi[3]

Iranian City and Village Councils elections, 2003 took place in February 2003, the second time local elections for city and village councils had taken place since being introduced in 1999, and 905 city and 34,205 village councils were up for election.[4]

By the elections, conservatives made a comeback and won the majority of the seats nationally as a harbinger of the 2004 parliamentary elections, where they won decisively.[4]

The elections demonstrated a voter apathy among the urban citizens,[5] as a result of public disappointment with reformists[4] and constant political infighting which led to the dissolution of the reformist-dominated City Council of Tehran.[6]

There were 20,235,898 casted votes in this election,[1] marking the lowest turnout in 24 years. In Tehran, only 12% of eligible voters participated. Turnout in Isfahan and Mashhad showed similar rates, 12% and 15% respectively.[7]

Disqualifications were minimal and below the 10%, to the extent that the banned Freedom Movement of Iran and Nationalist–Religious activists secured a few candidates as independents.[8]


In early 2000's, main camp of Principlists started lights-off works to take the power from Reformists. They established an umbrella organization for 2003 elections under the name of Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran. Tehran's election campaign of Builders headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[9] In some Provincial capitals, they used other name such as Āfṭāb (Persian: آفتاب, lit. 'Sun') or Sahand (Persian: سهند) for their election campaigns.[10] Builders decisively won the election in Tehran.[11]


Accoeding to Panjereh Weekly, conservatives won 64% of the seats nationwide.[12]

City Principlists Reformists Independents Ref
14 / 15(93%)
0 / 15(0%)
1 / 15(7%)
6 / 11(55%)
0 / 11(0%)
5 / 11(45%)


Source: Hamshahri[15]
Province Turnout
Qom Province30%
Isfahan Province34%
Yazd Province42%
Sistan & Baluchestan Province68%
Fars Province46%
East Azerbaijan Province46%
West Azerbaijan Province61%
Tehran Province23%
Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province62%
Ilam Province66%
Khorasan Province54%
Zanjan Province62%
Kerman Province60%
Kohgiluyeh & Boyerahmad Province69%
Golestan Province62%
Hormozgan Province66%
Mazandaran Province66%


  1. 1 2 3 "2003 Municipal Councils Election", The Iran Social Science Data Portal, Princeton University, retrieved 10 August 2015
  2. "Board of Supreme Provinces Council was elected". Iranian Students News Agency (in Persian). 29 October 2002. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  3. "Board of Supreme Provinces Council was elected in present of minister of interior". Iranian Students News Agency (in Persian). 4 August 2003. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 Ehteshami, Anoushiravan; Zweiri, Mahjoob (2007), Iran and the Rise of Its Neoconservatives: The Politics of Tehran's Silent Revolution, I.B.Tauris, pp. 35–37, ISBN 0857713671
  5. Mir-Hosseini, Ziba (2017), Jose Casanova, Jocelyne Cesari, eds., Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective, Oxford University Press, p. 224, ISBN 9780198788553
  6. "Iran elections 'can heal wounds'", Reuters, 28 February 2003, retrieved 11 June 2017 via CNN
  7. Ray Takeyh (6 March 2003), "Iran's Municipal Elections: A Turning Point for the Reform Movement?", The Washington Institute, Policywatch (721), retrieved 11 June 2017
  8. Nigel Parsons (November 2010), "Electoral Politics in Iran: Rules of the Arena, Popular Participation, and the Limits of Elastic in the Islamic Republic" (PDF), Policy Brief, The Middle East Institute (30), retrieved 11 June 2017
  9. Axworthy, Michael (2013), Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic, Oxford University Press, pp. 373–374
  10. Roozi-talab, Mohammad-Hassan (29 May 2004). "A further trust". Hamshahri (in Persian) (3393). Tehran. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  11. 1 2 "Final election results of Islamic city council of Tehran" (PDF). Ettela'at International (in Persian) (2111). New York City. 3 March 2003. pp. Page 1. ISSN 1353-8829. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  12. Torkashvand, Habib (6 November 2010). "Brief look to performance of Principlism". Panjereh weekly (in Persian). Jahan News. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  13. "Election results of city council of Shiraz" (in Persian). Iranian Students News Agency. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  14. "«Aftab» is leading in Shiraz" (in Persian). Fars News Agency. 1 March 2003. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  15. "Tehran, the lowest turnout". Hamshahri (in Persian) (2997). 5 March 2003.
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