Iran is voting today on the specter of abstention and using its veto power against opponents

Iran is voting today on the specter of abstention and using its veto power against opponents


Today, Iran is holding elections for Parliament and the Assembly of Experts – institutions controlled by conservative formations after excluding reformist politicians – amid a boycott by women to suppress protests sparked by the killing of the young woman Mahsa Amini and popular discontent. And tensions in the Middle East due to the war in Gaza, Evie reports.


In the elections for 290 seats in Parliament and 88 members in the Assembly of Experts, the level of participation appears to outweigh the weight of the winners, with the conservatives expected to renew their parliamentary majority. A parliament made up of conservative and ultra-conservative MPs will make relations with the West, currently very tense due to war in the region, economic sanctions, the sale of Iranian drones to Russia and the Persian state's nuclear programme, difficult.

Low engagement

More than 61 million Iranians are heading to the polls to choose between 15,200 candidates for Parliament and 144 for the Assembly of Experts, but everything seems to indicate that turnout will be low due to the poor economic situation exacerbated by US sanctions. With an inflation rate of about 40%, the value of the riyal (the local currency) is constantly declining. Added to all this is the growing political disinterest following the protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for not wearing the Islamic hijab properly in 2022.

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The Islamic Republic of Iran has always attached great importance to the high turnout rate as evidence of its legitimacy and popular support, which is why calls to vote have doubled in recent days. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, called for voting in order to “save the country.” “Iran’s enemies want to see whether people are present (at the ballot boxes),” the clerics said in a televised meeting in Tehran with young people who will be able to vote for the first time in the Iranian elections. While the Commander of the Revolutionary Guard, General Hossein Salami, said that the vote “gives a punch in the mouth” to the contestants. On the other hand, hundreds of public figures called for people to abstain from voting, such as prisoner Narges Mohammadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who considers the boycott “a moral obligation for Iranians who love freedom and demand justice.” Opinion polls indicate that the participation rate ranges between 30% and 41%, compared to the 2020 legislative session in which 42% voted, which is the lowest level in the history of the Islamic Republic.

The Guardian Council, the body that reviews legislation adopted by Parliament and objects to election candidates, approved 15,200 candidates out of 49,000 candidates. Among those excluded are a large number of reformist politicians. n

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