Crisis of Legitimacy for the Islamic Regime as Iranians boycott parliamentary elections
Author : Mehdi Mirghaderi
Translation: Kaveh Kian
Parliamentary elections slated for Friday February 22 were held in the face of widespread boycott by the Iranian populace. According to Mr. Jamal Araf, the national head of the Elections Commission, the eligible voting population for this event is reported as fifty seven million and nine hundred eighteen individuals (57,918000), while physical evidence of actual photographs and videos of the majority of polling stations show barely handfuls of voters turned up, creating a massive and incontrovertible crisis of legitimacy for the Islamic regime.
Classic opposition forces in Iran have traditionally supported boycotting the elections since they believe the Islamic Regime to be entirely illegitimate and considered “Occupiers of Iran” since the revolt of 1979 which was staged through the “unholy alliance of the Marxist left and Extremist Islamic forces”.
Over the past 41 years, the Islamic regime has used various methods to draw voters to the polling stations, most effectively through the portrayal of a “Reformist faction” drawing a distinction between a choice for “Bad or Worse” that could only be affected by mass participation. This illusionary distinction was wiped out by the election Hassan Rouhani, the current President who was the candidate of the Reformists. Experiencing his Reformist regime, people concluded once and for all that the Islamic regime was incapable of reform, and in 2017 the ultimate slogans of “Reformist and Hardliners your time is up” were chanted throughout Iran, clearly declaring that Iranians were demanding the complete and utter obliteration of the Islamic regime and its concepts.
Other coercion methods for forcing masses to the voting booths have traditionally included the threat of cessation of their “supplemental income” (Yaraneh), “enforced ineligibility to register at universities” or “expulsion from their workplace”.
In the current elections, held on Friday, Iranians demonstrated that they no longer acknowledge fear tactics of the regime and they will not remain pawns in the fake game of elections with predetermined outcomes, both factions of which have been orchestrated from the very same central source, rendering Iranians mere actors in a well-choreographed circus meant for foreign consumption.
For the Islamic regime, voting has represented a proxy for gaining legitimacy to” rule” over the masses, as individuals pledge their confidence in the leader en-masse. Busy polling stations and larger turnouts reinforce this concept for the Ayatollahs as witnessed by recurring statements from the Secretary of State, Javad Zarif, reciting the 70-80% turnout at elections as evidence of their legitimacy.
On several occasions those working in the system have privately confessed that they routinely inflate turnout statistics by 20-25% in order to boost claims of legitimacy by the ruling government. But this time the universal boycott by people of all walks of life delivered a grave and unexpected shock to the regime. At the headquarters of Mellig Party (Melligparty.com) innumerable videos have been received from inside Iran depicting deserted polling stations at various hours of the day – all throughout the nation. This time people have delivered a big vote of “NO Confidence” in the regime with no possibility of reinterpretation.
At the time of submitting this article, fully three days after the closing of polls in Iran, contrary to all previous practice, the official Elections Commission has yet to declare the results. Some sites related to the notorious Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have declared a 42% turnout – by itself a blatantly fake number – that still denotes a 20% decrease from previous elections. It is deeply regrettable that some respected foreign news outlets have stooped to quoting this fake number without any respectable verification of sources and/or review of available evidence to the contrary.
In the days preceding the elections, Reformists tried their best to draw out their supposed supporters, even broadcasting the image of the former reformist president – Mohammad Khatami – but this old trick no longer paid off.
In the 2018 mass protests across 100+ cities, as well as those in October of 2019, Iranians clearly and directly let the world know that they were fed up with the Islamic regime and chanted slogans including “Reformists and Hardliners, your time is up” “Reza Shah Peace Upon You”, “King of Iran Return to Iran” and demanded the end to the Islamic regime and the establishment of a true Secular Democracy in Iran.
The most ridiculous new invention of the regime’s forces is to portray fake reasons for the massive defeat of the current elections by trying to assign blame on the number of disqualified candidates for their faction. Nothing could be further from the truth. This practice of disqualifying candidates has been experienced throughout the past 41 years and is not a real excuse. Disregarding facts and evidence, BBC Persian service and a few other uninformed news media have easily become complicit in disseminating such fake news in support of the regime by hosting agents of the regime on this issue in their programs.
Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader with Absolute Powers, after a full week of beseeching Iranians, even opponents and those who hate him personally, to turn out for elections to deliver a strong blow to the United States in hope of improving internal conditions, has expressed his disappointment and blamed the low turnout on the propaganda of the opposition forces.
It has to be noted that after the 2019 uprising spurred by an overnight hike in gas prices which immediately turned into demands for the dismantlement of the regime and its operatives, this election fiasco is the second largest blow to the legitimacy if this Islamic regime and a near final indication of its demise. In the meanwhile, Iranians are expecting world powers to take serious note of these facts and events and stop both heir implicit and explicit support of a brutal, criminal and illegitimate regime now and pay attention to the only faction that matters – The people of Iran.