Reformist Boycott of Parliamentary Elections Underway
Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement is set to boycott the forthcoming parliamentary elections in March 2012, according to a statement released by the Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope on Monday.
The Coordination Council, the movement’s highest decision-making body, stressed that despite all the “warnings” issued by Iranian dissidents about the grave dangers facing the country, there was no hope that the upcoming elections would be held freely and fairly.
“In the past two years, those who care about and admire the country have—continuously and in various ways—warned about the current dire situation and stressed the need for the country to return to a path of democracy, respect for law and the recognition of collective wisdom,” the statement said. “In their opinion, the ninth National Consultative Assembly [Majlis] elections in the coming [Iranian] month of Esfand [20 February 2012 – 20 March 2012] represented a valuable opportunity for the current [political] establishment to recognise its flagrant mistakes and use it to make amends for the past and to implement reform in the least costly and harmful way.”
Last week, Ali Mohammad Gharibani, president of Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, announced that the country’s pro-reform factions would not be participating in the parliamentary race in March. He said the council had “decided not to present a unified list [of candidates] and not to support anyone [in the race].”
Months earlier, former reformist President Mohammad Khatami had set conditions for the reformists to participate in the Majlis elections, including: the release of all political prisoners; free and competitive elections; and freedom for political parties and the press.
On Monday, Khatami backed the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, saying, “My opinion is the same as the council’s, which is that the reformists cannot and must not have candidates and a unified list in the elections.”
“I don’t speak on behalf of anyone. I think that all indicators suggest that we must not take part in the elections.”
The Coordination Council of the Green Path of Hope said the authorities’ ongoing suppression of dissents in recent months had “left no doubt that the regime is incapable of comprehending how dire the current situation is as well as its own interests, and lacks the courage” to hold free and fair elections.
“It can be stated without a doubt that what is to be held in the country in the name of ‘elections’ will lack the required standards and criteria for ‘free and fair’ elections,” the council statement continued, adding that there was “no chance for holding elections in the true sense of the word.”
“The council … considers the forthcoming parliamentary election as illegal and unfair, and sees participation in a theatrical election as contrary to the interests of the nation and the country.”
“[The elections are] a propaganda spectacle for the regime’s claim to democracy,” the members noted. “Any form of involvement and role-play in this spectacle is the equivalent of participating in the blatant disregard for the heroic struggle of the people for free and fair elections, as well as the heavy price that’s been endured in this path.”
In their statement, the council members called on Green Movement supporters to “raise awareness” about the true nature of the upcoming elections.
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