Some Iranian politicians suggest that early elections can be an option on the table as a way out of the economic crisis that has made life difficult for millions.
The far-reaching solution assumes that current ultraconservative parliament and President are incapable of tackling the problem mainly because of their weakness in the areas of economy and foreign policy.
A report in the centrist Aftab News in Tehran says that the overwhelmingly ultraconservative parliament (Majles) does not represent the entire nation. The report claimed that the only representative parliament in post-1979 Iran was formed in 1980 when the Guardian Council had not started its "discretionary supervision" of elections in Iran. The report further opined that returning to that form of parliament could be one of the most important ways out of Iran's political impasse.
Probing into the impact of a parliament which is predominantly radical and ultraconservative, the paper claimed that the elimination of other political factions from the election process has pushed the people into the streets to protest.
This was referring to the parliamentary election in 2020 and the presidential vote in June 2021, when most ‘reformist’ or even centrist insiders were barred from running.
But the protesters on the street do not care about reformists returning to the government. They unequivocally demand a regime change and a democratic, secular state.
Another issue is whether elections can help the country change course when all major decisions are made by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including vetting of candidates prior to a vote. This is exactly what happened in 2020 and 2021 when the Guardian Council appointed by Khamenei barred hundreds of candidates.
Islamic Republic's President Ebrahim Raisi
Speaking about the role of President Ebrahim Raisi's administration in the political impasse, former reformist lawmaker Mohammad Ali Vakili said having seen the Raisi administration's performance so far, "it is highly unlikely that he could solve Iran's economic crisis. The members of his government have been talking too much about the problems, bragging about their solutions, but so far we have not seen anything other than ineffective speeches."
‘Reformist’ politician Jalal Jalalizadeh pointed out in an interview with Aftab News: "The government's inefficient structure is the main part of the problem and reforming it is one of the major demands of the nation." He added that "The Majles has almost no role in solving the country's most important problems."
Therefore, Jalalizadeh suggested, "It is essential that the government sets up a committee to probe into the current protests and try to meet the protesters' demands." He added: "If the government does not like the idea of changing the Constitution, it can consider early Majles and presidential elections in a bid to get rid of the current parliament and administration, which cannot fulfil their promises and have failed to respond to the people's demands."
However, he warned that Iran's reformists should not seize the opportunity of an early election to take over the government and the parliament only to serve their own financial interests and political ambitions.
This is not the first time Iranian politicians put forward the idea of early elections. Last month, some media proposed early presidential elections to make the revival of the JCPOA possible, as the Raisi administration has failed to reach an agreement with the West.
Also in July 2022, reformist commentator Abbas Abdi repeated what he had suggested to former President Hassan Rouhani about holding an early election in 2021 when hardliners tied his hands in the nuclear talks.