The parliamentary elections have made it clear that the regime that has ruled Iran for 41 years is a clerical dictatorship.
With Ali Khamenei at the helm, the hardliners can live well Photo: Office of the Iranian Supreme/ap
The regime in Iran can now safely remove the word republic from its name. For all those who still had doubts about it, it has become clear since Friday’s so-called parliamentary elections at the latest that the regime that has ruled Iran for 41 years is a clerical dictatorship. The parliament has been transformed into an assembly of yes-men loyal to the revolutionary leader by the preliminary election held by the Council of Guardians, which excluded dissenting candidates. It is true that the parliament has had no power to make fundamental decisions. But its existence could at least give the impression that the will of the people is somehow also taken into account in the Islamic Republic.
Now there is clarity. This is bitter for the reformers, who had the illusion that the Islamic Republic could be transformed into a democracy. Actually, they should have given up this illusion long ago. For eight years under President Khatami, they held the majority in Parliament, but were unable to push through a single fundamental reform. In the past seven years, President Rohani’s government has also failed with its reform plans, despite the dominance of the reformers in parliament. The reformers have long since become superfluous.
The actual rulers have created clear conditions with their rigorous purge. As the voter turnout shows, the population has also registered this. Around sixty percent of eligible voters did not go to the polls; in Tehran, the figure was as high as almost eighty percent.
If one subtracts all those who are existentially dependent on the regime and those who, for whatever reason, felt compelled to vote, one is left with a minority of ten to twenty percent, President Rohani’s government forming the Islamists’ base. Gone are the days when the clerics could boast that the whole nation was behind them. Now they will try to maintain their power with even more violence than before. Whether they will succeed is highly questionable.