Political figures call on people to participate in parliamentary polls 

February 18, 2020 - 23:12

TEHRAN - In recent days a great number of senior religious and political figures have called on people with different political persuasions to take part in the parliamentary elections.

The parliamentary elections, the 11th of its kind since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, will be held in over 200 constituencies across the country on Friday.

Behzad Nabavi, who served as the vice speaker of the Parliament and was one of the founders of the reformist the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization (IRMO), told the Ensaf news website that the people should participate in the elections to prevent “great losses”. 

“The ballot boxes are the only acceptable path to turn the existing situation into the desired one,” the veteran politician underscored. 

Jamal Orf, head of the Interior Ministry election headquarters, said in a meeting with IRNA managers on Monday that high voter turnout will reduce the enemy’s threats against the country. 

“If people participate in the elections at a low level, the enemies will imagine that the popular acceptance of the establishment has declined and will certainly intensify their pressure on the country,” Orf argued.

Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, a well-known principlist figure and former parliament speaker, called on the people not to ignore their role in deciding the country’s fate. 

“More participation in the elections will promote the country’s dignity,” Haddad-Adel said, adding the outcome of elections is not predictable, but the composition of the fresh parliament will certainly be different from the current one. 

Ali Shakouri Raad, chief of the Unity of the Iranian Nation Party, said though his party has not issued any list of candidates, he is resolved to “be present strongly at the scene”.

Hossein Mar’ashi, spokesman for the Executives of Construction (Kargozaran-e Sazandegi) Party, who is unhappy with the performance of the Guardian Council in banning certain parliament hopefuls, said, “Iran’s future is dependent on such ups and downs… (and) I don’t agree to leave the scene due to the acts of powerful institutions.”

Zahra Shojaeian, a major advocate of women's rights and an advisor on women's affairs in President Khatami’s administration, said, “We will participate in the elections to serve Iran.”

Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, secretary-general of the Construction Party and former Tehran mayor, also called for participation in the elections. 

“We must not leave people alone in their hard days,” Karbaschi said, pointing to his party members.  

Mohsen Hashemi, head of the central council of the Construction Party and the son of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, called on the people to vote for the list of candidates of his party to make the parliament great again.

The Construction Party is campaigning with the slogan of Yaran-e Hashemi (the supporters of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani).
 
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi told his theology students that “if elections are held enthusiastically, the U.S. will become sad.” However, the ayatollah said, if people do not vote massively the U.S. will intensify its pressure on Iran.

The U.S. has slapped harsh sanctions against Iran in line with its “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran. 

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said if “we call on people” to participate in the election it “does not mean that we have closed our eyes to the realities”. He said, “We know that people are under extreme pressure.”

The ayatollah said the people are facing prices rises, unemployment, and housing problems.

The grand ayatollah added, “With our enthusiastic presence in the election we should disappoint the enemies and prove that sanctions and pressures will not affect us. We should also prove that Iran is an independent, strong and brave country… and due to this reason we insist that it is necessary that all participate in the elections.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution, said on Tuesday that if more people vote in the elections the next parliament will be “stronger”.


President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Iran has set the bedrock for democracy and elections in the West Asia region.
 
MJ/PA

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