Iran is set to hold its presidential elections in June, which has only increased factional fighting as the politicians try to shift blame for the various crises facing Iran, but the media are predicting a national boycott and protests.
This is not unprecedented. Last February, following the November 2019 uprising and the January 2020 protests over the downing of a passenger jet, the people overwhelmingly refused to vote in the parliamentary elections because they saw that it would not change anything, and they wanted regime change. In fact, there hasn’t been a large election turnout since the 1980s, when opposition candidates ran.
The state-run Arman daily wrote Monday: “[This is] one of the few elections in which everything is vague except the date of holding, which is June 18. The people’s economic and livelihood dissatisfaction, on the one hand, and the view of the government and the Guardian Council on the forthcoming elections, on the other hand, have overshadowed the 13th presidential election.”
Now, of course, voting in Iran is far different than voting in an actual democracy. For one thing, there is little difference between the two factions as the “reformists” are mainly used to trick the West into giving concessions to Iran. All candidates must swear loyalty to the Supreme Leader and be vetted by the Guardian Council. In order to even stand, one must be Muslim, of Iranian origin, and hold a record of religious and political affiliation to the system. That’s why the Iranian people have been chanting “reformists, hardliner, the game is over”.
The authorities do not want a repeat of last year’s boycott, but that is what will happen because the government’s policies have turned the country into a powder keg ready for change and the people know that this will never come from the ballot box.
Arman wrote: “The country’s general conditions are not very suitable for various reasons such as weak management, lack of realization of development plans and 20-year vision, lack of clear strategy in practice after four decades of the victory of the 1979 revolution. Poverty, corruption, discrimination, inefficiencies, unemployment, and recent skyrocketing costs that are re-creating the wartime era, along with the people’s livelihoods, have led to declining satisfaction and a loss of social capital.”
A cleric Fazel Meibodie warned Saturday that people’s anger could only be suppressed so long and that eventually “hungry people” will rise up and mullahs will be unable to control the situation.