‘Elections’ and ‘people’ are two words that have been transformed from their original concepts under the religious tyranny ruling Iran. What is called elections in the clerical culture is not synonymous with the common definition of the word in democratic societies.
The regime has taken the name of democracy in its political vocabulary and replaced it with ‘religious democracy’. This religious democracy is anything but democracy and the rule of the people. When we explore the concept of this composition, we finally come to the mobilization forces of the Revolutionary Guards, which in the eyes of this government is an excellent example of religious democracy. When this is the fate of democracy, the state of elections in religious tyranny is clear.
Guardian Council and Approved Supervision
In the medieval tyranny, elections do not take place in the usual sense. Because of the absolute rule of the supreme leader, people are not supposed to be selective and influential. Such a role is not defined for them. The Vali-e-Faqih (Supreme Leader) selects a number from among the surrogates and who have showed themselves loyal to him then pulls one out of the box in an engineered show.
It is interesting that in order to take over this process, the regime by placing a number of clerics in a clerical institution called the Guardian Council and institutionalizing approving supervision, the same hand-picked people are often passed through a filter and the most loyal to the supreme leader are taken out. He who passes through this mechanism must be “committed in the heart and in practice” to the Velayat-e-Faqih as written in the regime’s constitution.
End the instrumental use of elections
Where are people in this process? Basically, what is the place of their choice among this process? In this medieval view, people are only good at queuing up at the ballot box on election day to portray that the regime has a popular base and that the people accept its authoritarian rule.
Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei desperately needs this kind of propaganda to give his government a facelift. He called it ‘the authority of the system.’ The regime has taken many steps in recent years to show itself as democratized and bring a mass of people to the ballots, but all of them have failed.
Because people have realized the nature of this scandalous show and boycotted it. Hence, as the life of this system progresses, its popularity becomes smaller and smaller. What was proved in February 2020 is that such government demonstrations can no longer mobilize even the regime’s supporters.
Weakening the rule of the system and Khamenei’s deceit
Khamenei’s speech on February 17, 2021 is the best evidence of the fact that the clerical dictatorship sees its fall and its rule. In part of his speech, the following parameters are significant.
1- The efforts to democratize and show the prosperity of the election show has failed. This can be seen in his desperate statements as well as his plea to participate in the election show.
“When people participate in the elections and show their revolutionary passion, it causes security and repulses the enemy, and reduces greed for the country. The more passionate and popular the election, the greater the effects on the country and the people. But the enemy does not want this.” (State-run daily Entekhab, February 17, 2021)
At the end of his speech on the elections, he again points out that the cure for the chronic pains of his system is to deal with the sluggishness of the election show.
“I have a lot more to say about the election in the coming months. I am currently saying the same sentence: The cure for the chronic pains of the country is the enthusiasm of the elections and the public presence of the people, and then the selection of the right and appropriate person in the presidential elections.” (State-run daily Entekhab, February 17, 2021)
2- What Khamenei calls ‘choosing the right and appropriate person’ for the presidency is to appoint a loyalist to this position while he is trying to contract his government. The Supreme Leader has repeatedly addressed this ‘suitable figure’ and said that what he meant by “a young government of Hezbollah” is a “person with the characteristics of Qassem Soleimani.” Trying to contract the system and removing the people of the opposite faction from the government is also to achieve such a purpose.
3- Khamenei admits in advance the engineering of the election show and its coldness and sluggishness, so he is preparing the ground for confronting the socio-political consequences of this bankrupt show.
“They always start saying things close to the elections, such as that elections are not free, there is interference, engineering, and so on. In order to discourage people.” (State-run daily Entekhab, February 17, 2021)
According to what Khamenei said in the speech about the apathy and defection of the regime forces with the terms ‘do not be afraid, do not get tired, do not despair, do not be lazy, do not knowingly be on the enemy’s plan’, it can be said that difficult days await him and the clerical system. The days when their pulse beats with riots and uprisings on the streets of Iran.