Iranian students voting in a mock election to encourage participation in the parliamentary election, Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, February 2024

Activists Boycott Elections In Iran Questioning Legitimacy

Monday, 02/26/2024

Over 275 political, social, and cultural activists have announced their decision to abstain from participating in the forthcoming elections in Iran.

They argue that the polls have been manipulated to undermine the public's right to governance.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the activists stressed the urgency of reforming the electoral system to ensure genuine participation and representation.

The upcoming elections for the parliament and the Assembly of Experts, scheduled for March 1, are encountering boycotts from various sectors of society including notable figures, political factions, and even people incarcerated for their dissenting views.

"The failed politics of participation and presence in the elections, in any case and at any cost, has never succeeded, as evidenced by repeated trials and bitter historical experiences in recent decades," reads the statement.

Amidst growing skepticism, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, has called for public engagement in the elections. However, recent polls reveal significant disillusionment, with over three-quarters of Iranians expressing their intention to abstain from voting.

“Without a genuine revival of the electoral institution, real participation and presence will not occur,” added the statement.

In the previous elections for the parliament, over half of Iranians refrained from participating. Experts anticipate that the upcoming elections may witness historically low turnout rates, reflecting widespread disillusionment with the Islamic Republic's governance.

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