The 11th parliamentary elections are to be held on 21st February 2020. This election, like other elections held in the last decade, will be a failed attempt to prove the legitimacy of the regime and, as its leaders put it, “a face-saving show” for international public opinion. It is important to note that our Party has always stated that holding elections within the framework of the regime of the Supreme Leader, and under the supervision of the Guardian Council, has never been, and can never be, a democratic and popular exercise.
From the bloody and violent coup of 2009 – in which millions of votes were discarded on the direct orders of the Supreme Leader so that Ahmadinejad, a servant of the theocratic regime and the Revolutionary Guards, could retain the presidency – until now, our people have learned that there cannot be any hope for a radical and positive change in the direction of the people’s wishes and demands. The experience of the last decade, from an irresponsible but leader-obedient parliament to the regime-serving president, has also shown the absurdity of the deceitful theory of “the need to choose between the bad and the worse” and [has spelt] the end for those politicians defending the regime under the cover of “reform”.
After the last parliamentary elections, and amidst the victory propaganda of the “List of Hope” inside and outside of the country, the Central Committee of our Party rightly stated that, “The manner of holding the 2016 elections is not a new phenomenon in our homeland. These elections, like other staged elections in the last decade, were organised and engineered by the reactionary government where people could only vote for those who had passed through the filter of the Guardian Council and the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence… The central policy of “Entrustment” to the regime will not eliminate any of the ailments and sufferings of our people. It is merely an act to bind the different ruling factions with the aim of prolonging the life of a regime which is the main reason for the current catastrophic situation in our country. Including criminals such as Mohammed Reyshahri and Dorri-Najafabadi, together with reactionaries such as Emami-Kashani, as well as other defenders of the bloody repression of 2009, on the reformists’ “List of Hope” and promoting these people is a dark stain on the records of those who claim to be advocates for human rights.” (Quoted from the statement of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran, 28 February 2016)
Four years after the 10th parliamentary elections, and given the shameful record of the “List of Hope” and its leaders, including [Mohammad Reza] Aref and his aides, and over the last two years of the rule of the Supreme Leader, during which he has resorted more than ever to brutal and bloody suppression of popular protest, any propaganda for parliamentary elections can have no purpose other than support for the dictatorship and endorsement of its repressive policies.
Following the widespread and mass barring of currently sitting “reformist” members of parliament who had obeyed the Leader in their every step, Ali Khamenei threatened any opposition and dissenting voice, including [President] Hassan Rouhani, on Wednesday 5th February, saying, “This and that journalist, social media activist, member of parliament and important government official should be careful not to discourage the people […] How can the election be right and impeccable when it is in your favour and corrupt when it is not in your favour?” Khamenei further said: “it may be possible that someone does not like me, but if he loves Iran then he should go to the ballot box” because in election matters of the regime’s honour and security of the country are paramount and the forthcoming election can contribute to the resolution of internal and international problems.
At the same time, the upcoming staged elections by the Islamic Republic of Iran will also provide an opportunity for the regime to implement the programme of harmonisation and militarisation of the country’s legislative and executive bodies. There has even been talk of an official appointment for the corrupt and criminal General Ghalibaf in Tehran municipality, despite the more than 800 charges of theft and fraud against him and his proud active involvement in the bloody suppression of student protests in 1999.
The 11th parliamentary elections are being held whilst our country is facing an increasingly widespread socio-economic crisis due to the treacherous and insane policies of the leaders of the regime of the Supreme Leader. Tens of millions of Iranians live below the poverty line in the most difficult conditions and are deprived of a minimum living for themselves and their families. Unemployment is rampant, especially among the country’s youth. Corruption is a widespread phenomenon throughout the government departments of the Islamic Republic and people face oppression and injustice in various government institutions in their daily lives. Extensive protests in more than a hundred cities across the country in January 2018 and then in November 2019, followed by protests against the lies by government officials about the cause of the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane and the bloody crackdowns that killed hundreds of our compatriots – with thousands more injured and arrested – once again confirm the fact that the political system ruling our homeland is a dictatorship and deeply unpopular. This dictatorial rule can only be rejected paving the way to the realisation of national-democratic rule through a united widespread struggle of people and the liberation forces of the country. The elections of 21st February are actually the appointment of a handful of mercenaries for which Khamenei and the leadership of the Islamic Republic want to take credit and legitimise by encouraging mass-participation by the people. It is a fact that the incompetence of the theocratic regime and its leader has long been evident. This regime and its leader lack any credibility and authority to continue their rule.
The widespread boycott of the upcoming elections is a big “NO” from our people to tyranny and religious dictatorship and a slap in the face of the incompetent leaders who have placed our homeland in such a dire and critical situation. Along with a united boycott of these elections, effective and unified action must be taken to counter the ruling dictatorship by organising protests and launching a nationwide campaign. We call upon all patriotic and freedom-seeking forces to join in a common struggle to achieve this and defeat the staged elections, and we declare our readiness to participate actively in this joint struggle.
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran
11 February 2020