Electoral staff sit next to electronic ballot boxes during the runoff parliamentary elections in Tehran, Iran, May 10, 2024.

People Indifferent to Iran Parliament Runoff Election

Friday, 05/10/2024

While the May 10 runoff parliamentary election appears to be a non-event for most Iranians, a politician suggests that widespread dissatisfaction with the government may lead to a very low turnout.

Gholam Ali Rajaei, an aide to former President and Expediency Council Chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told reporters in Tehran that the luckiest winner in Tehran may get through to the Majles with around 50,000 votes.

Explaining the reasons for the general apathy, Rajai said that people know they cannot expect too much from individuals who are elected to the Majles with the votes of only 6 to 7 percent of eligible voters.

According to Rouiydad24, it is not only this reformist politician who is pessimistic about the turnout in the runoff elections. Even Conservative media outlets in Tehran are echoing similar sentiments. They argue that the general public's mood does not reflect the typical enthusiasm seen during election periods. The March first-round elections already recorded the lowest turnout in Iran's post-revolution history.

The official turnout in March was 28 percent in Alborz Province, 30 percent in Kordestan Province, and 34 percent in Tehran. However, observers believe actual turnout figures were much lower.

Rajaei emphasized that runoff elections in Iran historically witness low turnout. However, the exceptionally low participation in March underscored Iranians' protest against the government's management of state affairs.

"There are too many problems that have left no peace of mind for Iranians. Election is no longer an issue of interest for the people who have so many financial problems and their livelihood is shrinking on a daily basis." Rajaei said.

He added that the economic chaos in Iran is directly linked to the government's foreign policy and its attitude toward the international order. Iranians have come to believe that the current government in Iran finds rapprochement with the world impossible.

Only an efficient parliament working hand in hand with an efficient government elected in a competitive electoral system may be able to solve some of Iran's problems, but what can lawmakers who entered the Majles with 6 or 7 percent of the votes in their constituency do, he retorted.

Rajaei also suggested that the government is happy about the current situation because there are no lawmakers who would criticize its performance.

In another development, questioning the legitimacy of the current electoral system, Ali Asghar Pourmohammadi, the former head of the Iranian state TV's Channel 3, who will be competing in the runoff election, told Khabar Online website that the conservative political group Shana (short for the Islamic Council of revolutionary forces) had assured him that he would be elected in the first round with all others on its list but this was not the case. "They told me to enjoy myself and go on vacation and to rest assured that I will be a winner," he said.

Pourmohammadi charged that a number of President Ebrahim Raisi's cabinet ministers make the final decision about who wins in the election. Meanwhile, criticizing the parliament and the government for their failures, Pourmohammadi said Raisi and parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf are in the wrong positions: "Ghalibaf would have made a better President," he said but did not elaborate on his views about what kind of Speaker Raisi would be.

He said in an apparent allusion to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or his aides, that "prominent individuals in the system suggested that I should run in the election as my presence at the Majles will be helpful."

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