The electoral process in Iran is corrupt and very far removed from any definition of democracy. The regime goes through the motions of a traditional election, but the process is unfair and is not representative of the will of the people. Nor the officials in Iran.
The Guardian Council is a body that vets all candidates. Nobody has any chance of winning an election unless it has proven its commitment to absolute clerical rule. The candidates must also show that they are allied with the country’s Supreme Leader. This means that the elected officials in Iran are never going to be able to bring change to the country’s policies because they are all aligned with the Supreme Leader.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has eliminated many of his rivals in the current parliamentary elections. The country’s parliament is going to be filled with members of the Khamenei faction.
The elections are the regime’s way of bargaining with the international community. When accused of human rights abuses, the regime can point out that it is a democratic society in Iran. While it is true that elections are carried out, it could not be further from the truth that society is democratic. The people are given a bunch of names of corrupt candidates and told to pick their favorites. This is not a democracy.
The people, while the mullahs still hold power, are never going to be able to elect someone that is going to look after the needs of the citizens. They are never going to be able to appoint anyone that is going to shun terrorism, extremism, and suppression. They are never going to be able to elect someone that chooses to work for the good of the people rather than to line the regime’s own pockets.
Corruption is something that has destroyed the country’s economy, and it is now coming to the forefront in the current parliamentary elections. An Iranian MP recently highlighted that parliamentary candidates are being bribed, explaining that “middlemen” are asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure that a candidate is given approval.
This is not the first time that elections in Iran have been described as “engineered”. A news outlet recently reported that the results of the election have already been decided in advance and that the election process is just a formality.
The counting of votes is also part of the corrupt process. There is nobody to monitor or audit the counting of votes and there have been credible accusations that the counts are simply not taken into account or engineered to give the regime the result it wants.
Several members of parliament have spoken about boycotting the elections because of the process, but the country’s head of the judiciary has warned that any person that dares question the elections are “on the enemy’s front”. Ebrahim Raisi’s threat was obviously aimed at those on the opposing side to the Supreme Leader. It was a threat to MPs and officials to show that these elections are being taken very seriously.
The ones who have been left out of this process are the people of Iran who have taken to the streets to say that their vote goes towards regime collapse. The people are fed up with corruption and they want to see the regime fall.