While the Iranian regime is mired in deadly crises, it must hold parliamentary elections soon. The regime has held 10 parliamentary elections for the past 40 years in Iran and is set to hold its 11th on March 1st. In general, it is clear that since the first poll in 1980 , Khomeini’s deputies had been elected at Khomeini’s discretion with much involvement and fraud in counting and declaring votes, completely removing the representatives of political groups and preventing them from entering the country’s legislature. So far this time, they have gone through the motions of registering and refining candidates.
Analysts believe that if the regime did not have to adhere to the elections at this moment, they would have been reluctant to hold them because of serious concern about the resurgence of the uprising, and would try to prevent its continued growth.
The issue of elections in a regime where Khamenei, as the supreme leader, is above the law and regards his view as God’s view, is fundamentally irrelevant and nothing more than a show. But since the medieval regime is portraying itself as a democratic state in the new era, the mullahs are obliged to give in to a dramatic election. However, the election campaign of this regime has been the scene of rivalry between mafia gangs ruling the country for many years, including this year, and this has always been a factor in the escalation of the regime’s internal crises.
Changes in the parliamentary elections so far show that Khamenei decided to make the composition of the new parliament uniquely with his own loyalists. He wants to be able to maneuver for unpredictable conditions in the foreseeable future, with the many crises that he is drowned in.
On the other hand, Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president, and his affiliates, have already realized that many of them will be eliminated in the future composition of parliament. For this reason, Rouhani is putting pressure on Khamenei, through the Interior Ministry where he is in charge of holding and controlling the elections, showing he would not play ball in electoral engineering and would announce the real counts the actual numbers of participants.
Because the historical voter turnout is so low at any given time and the regime is multiplying its turnout by ten times the figure, Rouhani is keen to grab more congressional seats in the next parliament for his affiliates.
In this war, Rouhani exposed the reality behind the regime’s election campaigns, saying, “It is impossible to appoint members of parliament and then to ask the people go to the polls for the sake of formality to do the election. Well, if we want to go to the polls, it is like they tell you to go into a big store and pick a good. If there just one good and one brand, then there in no choice. There is no need for selection!”
The regime is facing this election on top of major crises on domestic and international fronts, and the further the conflict goes, the more it pulls the entire regime into a death spiral. On the other hand, Khamenei and other regime officials continue to remember the November and January uprisings that are alive and which will again challenge the entirety of the regime whenever possible. For this reason, all officials in the regime are deeply concerned about the resurgence and take a calculated position with respect to the election. Because they understand the people are done with both Khamenei and Rouhani, fundamentalist and reformist gangs in this regime, and they want to overthrow the regime in its entirety, and they do not care about the election.
Unfortunately, due to the West’s policy of appeasement of this regime, such manipulation has never been criticized by the Western governments; on the contrary, with the endorsements of elected presidents or delegates to parliament, they have associated with friendship and cooperated with them.
As we move away from the early history of the Islamic revolution, it is clear the legitimacy of this regime has diminished every year and people are no longer willing to participate in its election shows.
Even Abbas Abdi, one of the so-called reformist figures in an interview, said, “This election campaign is actually a sort of getting back at the previous forces.”
Or, Movahedi Kermani, a government official recently said, “God forbid we were would hear that few people participated in the elections.”
Now, once again Khamenei has this dilemma — to perform a surgery and get rid of forces affiliated with Rouhani, or not perform the surgery and accept the crack and split in the current critical situation.
Both choices ultimately undermine the stability of the regime and Khamenei. The Supreme Leader is forced to act less repressive, but the critical and explosive situation in Iranian society does not allow Khamenei to take such action with certainty. The spread of the social movements and people’s protests fueled by rising costs and inflation, and the rise of high-profile sanctions are some of reasons and examples.
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