Iran’s Mar. 2 parliamentary elections come at a critical time. The country is increasingly isolated as it faces international sanctions over its nuclear program. Meanwhile, there is an ongoing power struggle between conservatives loyal to supreme leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei and those aligned with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Babak Dehghanpisheh notes in the latest issue of TIME, the contest will likely signal Ahmadinejad’s dwindling political support. The Guardian Council, a 12-member body that consists mostly of clerics, has already disqualified nearly 30% of registered candidates, including 35 incumbents, seen as the President’s supporters. Reformist parties that led protests against the contested 2009 presidential election are barely present, al-Jazeera English reports.