Iranian legislative elections: calls for boycott multiply

This is the first electoral meeting after the “Woman, Life, Liberty” protest movement.

Also the first meeting since the election of President Ebrahim Raïssi, who for his voters embodied the hope of an end to endemic corruption in the country.

Iranians are called to go to the polls on Friday, March 1, to renew the Parliament and the Assembly of Experts.

But calls for a boycott are increasing.

Men paste an election campaign poster of Iranian reformist candidate Afif Abedi on a street in Abuzar, south of Tehran, on February 26, 2024, ahead of the March 1 legislative elections.


By: Oriane Verdier Follow


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For several weeks, major figures of Iranian authority have been encouraging citizens to vote.

From Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Hossein Salami, all stress the importance of strengthening the country internally and externally, at a time when tensions in the region are exacerbated by the war being waged. “ 

the Israeli enemy

 ” against Hamas.

But the main concern of a large part of Iranians seems to be, again and again, the serious economic crisis which is hitting the country.

Over the past two decades, the cost of living and the corruption of the elites have repeatedly pushed the working classes into the streets, finally joined in 2022 by the wealthier population after the death of Mahsa Amini in a global movement of questioning authorities in place.

Calls for a boycott are therefore increasing inside and outside the country.

A figure in the reform movement, Mostafa Tajzadeh, former deputy minister of the interior, spoke from Evin prison where he has been incarcerated since 2022 for his criticism of the regime.

In a letter published on February 18 on his Telegram channel, he accuses the supreme leader of being responsible for the current political situation.

According to him, Ali Khamenei withheld “

 contributions from competent people

 ” and hindered “ 

essential structural reform 

” for the Islamic Republic.

This year, once again, many reformist candidates or those who are simply too critical of the current authorities have not received authorization from the Council of Guardians of the Constitution to run.

Within the current Parliament, for example, 28 deputies, or 10% of parliamentarians, are not authorized to run for a new term.

This disillusionment with possible reform from within the Islamic Republic today leads many reformers to choose to boycott the elections rather than join lists like those, for example, of the conservative Ali Motahari in Tehran.

The boycott, “a moral obligation”

The boycott call movement is also supported by human rights defenders such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, who is also detained in Evin.

For her, refusing to vote is a “ 

political step, but also a moral obligation for Iranians who love freedom and justice


In her message on social networks, the lawyer recalls the “

 merciless and brutal repression of the Iranian authorities, the assassination of young people in the streets, the executions, the imprisonment and the torture of men and women


Finally, this Sunday, 275 activists, artists, men and women politicians announced that they would not participate in these elections which risk “ 

reinforcing the tyranny of the authorities

 ” and do not respect the sovereignty of the people.

This boycott movement does not stop at intellectual circles.

Even in regions usually mobilized around the polls, a significant part of the population seems to be turning away.

In Sistan-Baluchistan in particular, the ferocious repression which has fallen on the Baloch community since the start of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement seems to have also got the better of the political convictions of a large part of the population.

Some members of this ethnic minority denounce on social networks a corrupt, treacherous and tyrannical government followed by #bloody_Friday.

On Friday September 30, 2022, a little more than two weeks after the death of Mahsa Amini, Iranian security forces killed at least 66 Baloch demonstrators and passers-by during the repression of a gathering in Zahedan, at the end of the prayer Friday.

Since then, these gatherings and their repression have not stopped.

According to several Iranian media, participation in the March 1 vote should not exceed 30% at the national level.

However, it will be difficult to know the real figure given the high risk of electoral fraud and the absence of reliable polls.

Also read: Iran: the Assembly of Experts, renewal of a body called to play a crucial role


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