The 11th parliamentary “elections” ended on Friday 21st February with a decisive and historic “NO” from the people to the corrupt and despotic regime ruling our homeland. According to Abdul-Reza Rahmani-Fazli, the Home Secretary of the Rouhani government, 42.57% of eligible voters took part in the elections. Even if we assume that this statistic is accurate, this is the lowest turnout for the parliamentary elections in the 40-year-history of the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile, the percentage turnouts of eligible voters in the Central and Tehran provinces were reportedly lower than 42.57% – with that of Tehran being recorded at barely 25%. Ali Shakouri-Rad, secretary-general of the “Ettehad Mellat” party tweeted, “Morteza Agha-Tehrani came in at third with 868,025 votes, while in the 2016 parliamentary elections he was at 32nd with 884,033 votes. This means that despite a lower vote [for him] his position has risen from 32 to 3. [!]”
The people’s decisive response to the leaders of the regime is important since Ali Khamenei had directly, and on two different occasions, urged the people to participate in the elections for their national interest even if they disagreed with him [the regime]. Just before the election, Khamenei in his speech in the province of East Azerbaijan, called the elections a “public jihad” and a “national celebration” and again called on the people to vote. Rahmani-Fazli justified the regime’s heavy defeat by saying “We had both the Coronavirus outbreak and the political conditions and issues such as the plane downing, and the November and January incidents [mass protest demonstrations] and in these conditions, this level of people’s participation is quite acceptable.” Of course, what he meant by “this level of peoples’ participation” is the very low turnout of people in these elections!
Given the widespread barring of candidates, and even the disqualification of obedient candidates currently sitting the 10th parliament who may not have been sufficiently compliant to the Leader [Khamenei], the result of this staged election was clear from weeks ago. The fact that a corrupt and criminal figure like Ghalibaf – who is openly proud of his thuggish behaviour in stabbing people and university students in July 1999, and with more than 800 open cases of fraud and corruption against him by the regime’s own judiciary – is “elected as Tehran’s first MP” shows, more than anything else, the deeply corrupt and backward nature of a regime that has led the economic, political and social situation of our homeland into such a catastrophic and agonizing state. Indeed, it is fitting that such a regime would have a murderous criminal such as Raisi as Head of the Judiciary and a corrupt thug [Ghalibaf] as its first MP and most likely Speaker of Parliament.
This common action by the overwhelming majority of the country’s popular and freedom-seeking forces, along with a number of radical pro-reform and nationalist-religious forces, in effecting the widespread boycott of the elections showed that the regime of the Supreme Leader could face serious challenges when confronted with a coordinated united action. The outcome of the 11th parliamentary elections is a worthy lesson for all of us to learn. This experience should be utilised to organise and further advance the people’s struggle on the path to the complete elimination of the theocratic regime and to prepare the ground for future united movements in opposing and resisting the ruling tyranny.
Tudeh Party of Iran
24 February 2020