Elections are a key part of any democracy, but in Iran, elections are merely a power struggle between two rival factions with no chance for any actual opposition. After all, to be allowed to run in Iranian elections, candidates must pledge “full allegiance” to the Velayat-e Faqih principle, which is the absolute rule of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Oh, and that is just one of 15 requirements. After that, they must be vetted by the Guardian Council, who are directly and indirectly appointed by the Supreme Leader, which means they are extremely loyal to the Supreme Leader and will only approve candidates that he will support.
Therefore, on the domestic front, the regime is faced with an exacerbating existential crisis as the people grow bolder in their calls for regime change. In this context, more than ever, Khamenei needs to put up a show of popular support, both to lift the dwindling spirits of his troops and also to create the grounds to further suppress demonstrations, which are growing more numerous and crowded every day.
For four decades, the regime has been holding farce elections, with a huge inflated turnout and major vote-rigging, in order to deceive the world into believing they have domestic and international legitimacy.
This time around, due to the regime’s fragile condition, the Guardian Council has disqualified nearly one-third of the current members of the Majlis on charges of “financial and ethical corruption” prompting “reformists” to complain about the very few of their candidates allowed to run for the Majlis.
The regime is now in such a critical condition that it cannot even maintain the closest loyalists and the Supreme Leader intends to eliminate the rival faction through manipulation and obtain a one-faction body. State-run media says that the Guardian Council has disqualified 90 sitting members of the parliament and that candidates in 170 districts are just from Khamenei’s faction. This will, however, cause a rift that could lead to further social protests and an uprising.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), described the crisis as a manifest reflection of another deadly impasse the regime is facing. She said the purge of the rival faction’s candidates is a sign of the regime’s inevitable retrenchment in the face of the uprisings.
Rajavi said that the Iranian people cast their true vote in the November 2019 and January 2020 uprisings with their chants of:
- “death to the principle of the velayat-e faqih”
- “Death to Khamenei”
- “Death to the dictator”
- “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the [Supreme] Leader”
She said they will boycott the mullahs’ election as a patriotic duty to demonstrate their desire for an Iran based on democracy and people’s sovereignty and their support for the Iranian uprising.