The eleventh parliamentary elections in Iran will be held on February 21, 2020. The number of seats in the 11th parliament is 290.
Candidates are screened and then approved or rejected by the Assembly of Experts, whose members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
According to the Iranian constitution, the three branches of government are under the supervision of the supreme leader. The Guardian Council is responsible for interpreting the constitution in cases where the decisions of other bodies contradict the decisions of the leader’s affiliated institutions, and may consider them illegal because of their inconsistency with the “supreme leader’s authority.”
Thus, elections become institutionalized into appointments by the Supreme Leader. In Iran, the possibility of a free election is a myth. The question is now whether Khamenei, who begs the people to vote, values the advice of members of parliament, or does he have other intentions?
Khamenei does not value the members of parliament at all! In his latest speech, he put down MPs appointed in the previous round, saying in recent years some members became “America’s servants” and enemies of Iran.
He accused his own appointees of implementing the enemy’s plan. In one instance on Saturday, November 17, two days after the execution of his order to raise gas prices and the following widespread protests across the country, MPs presented a plan to abolish or moderate the gasoline price hike. However, Khamenei on Sunday, November 23, warned MPs against it by sending a note addressed to the speaker of the parliament.
In addition, the decisions of the House of Representatives must be approved by the Guardian Council, and if the Guardian Council disagrees and the House still insists on its resolution, it will be the Expediency Council that decides on the House’s resolution.
Khamenei and Friday prayers’ speakers in towns and villages across Iran, have been emphasizing the importance of participating in the election for weeks now. But according to a poll conducted by the Iranian Student Statistics Center in January, 79% of Tehran’s population will not vote.
In his latest speech, Khamenei said, “Islamic Republic’s regional friends”( he meant Hezbollah In Lebanon and Hashd-Alshabi in Iraq and other proxy groups) are anxiously awaiting the turnout. However, he has sent them a message saying; “do not worry because this nation knows what to do.” Indeed, the Iranian people know what to do!
On Sunday, February 16, 2020, students of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University protested and were chanting, “People are in poverty, they are not thinking of voting…No ballot box, no vote, the boycott of elections”. They also had a handwritten placard saying, “Vote, absolutely Not”. The protesters were attacked by plain cloth agents and university guards.
In a statement, 12 imprisoned female civil and political activists pointed to the need to boycott the parliamentary elections, saying, “This system and its elections are only riding on the blood of millions of innocent youth…Anyone who goes to the ballot box will have his/her fingerprint on the triggers of guns that fired at the revolutionary youth and is a sign of confirmation of the ruling system and its crimes.”
Golrokh Irani and Soheil Arabi are among political prisoners who have boycotted the election in separate statements.
A group of Sunni freedom-seeking youths in Talesh have also stated that a regime that for the past 40 years put religious and ethnic minorities at a disadvantage and committed atrocities that no other criminals in history compare, should be boycotted.
On Friday, February 14, the US State Department Special Representative for Iran Brian Hooke called the Iranian election a purely demonstrative and pre-determined move. He said, “Clerics determine the winners and losers before the vote is cast. The regime’s officials are now doing their best to keep their tyrannical regime’s appearance legitimate in public opinion.”
The state newspaper Javan wrote, “Unfortunately, because of the things that have happened in the country, especially the November events, there has been a great deal of frustration in society and this has caused many people to not care for elections.”
The election crisis is now sweeping across society and engulfing the top of the regime, with Rouhani’s supporters threatening that he will resign.
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