The Iranian government is terrified of what will happen in the June presidential elections, predicting a minuscule 25% turnout because of how many people have no faith in the ruling system whatsoever. Just one month from registration day, the regime also doesn’t have a serious candidate, with the military figures already in the running deemed not efficient enough to solve the growing crises in Iran.
Many officials (and 220 MPs who signed a letter to the effect) are hoping that Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, who served on the death committees during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, will run and unite many behind him. This would leave the Judiciary post open but likely only to someone made in his mould. Raisi even appears to have the backing of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who previously urged Raisi to run in 2017 and who dissuaded the grandson of the clerical system’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini from running this year.
It seems that the only people allowed to run are those with ties to the repressive apparatus; although in fairness, that not that different to every other year because the candidates must swear loyalty to the Supreme Leader. But they are also worried that the options to vote for are not exactly going to encourage people to vote, especially given the still-out-of-control pandemic and the campaign by the Iranian resistance to boycott the elections and show how illegitimate the ruling theocracy is.
The public has taken that message on board, with many at protests chanting, “we have seen no justice and we will not vote”, to show their distaste for the mullahs, who cannot even begin to fix the people’s problems. Thus, the mullahs and state-run media are getting worried, warning that this could be terrible for the entire system as more and more sectors abandon it.
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said: “The political and social atmosphere of the society and public opinion has not yet shown any particular sensitivity and reaction for the elections.”
While former MP Mahmoud Sadeghi described the “election atmosphere” as cold with the best hope being 25% participation.
The Iranian opposition said: “The regime clearly cannot cope with the status quo. The power struggle between various factions, a predicted low election turnout of 25 per cent, and no nomination of serious candidates are the regime’s major obstacles for the upcoming election. No matter what path the regime chooses, it will certainly be a turning point.”