Vote if you ‘love’ Iran: Khamenei makes final appeal for participation in elections

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Wednesday reiterated his call for Iranians to participate in Friday’s elections, amid expectations of a low voter turnout.

In recent weeks, Khamenei has repeatedly urged Iranians to take part in the elections. The Islamic Republic has long relied on voter turnout as a means to demonstrate its legitimacy.

According to an opinion poll conducted this week by the state-owned polling center ISPA, only 38.5 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” vote in the parliamentary elections.

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Elections with high voter turnout “lay the groundwork for solving problems and Iran’s progress and are one of the pillars of the effective governance of the country,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying.

“Anyone who loves Iran, the Islamic Republic, the revolution, national strength and progress will come to the polls on Friday,” he said.

Friday’s elections will determine new members of parliament and the Assembly of Experts, with candidates closely aligned with Khamenei expected to secure comfortable victories in the absence of any serious competition.

While parliament theoretically holds oversight responsibilities over the executive branch and key decision-making processes, its practical influence, particularly in critical areas such as foreign policy and national security, is minimal.

The Assembly of Experts, comprising 88 clerical members, is tasked with electing, overseeing, and if required, removing the supreme leader, who holds ultimate authority over all state affairs in Iran. Khamenei, 84, has held the position since 1989.

A factor contributing to the perceived lack of significance of these elections among some Iranians is the requirement that candidates vying for seats in either body must first be approved by the Guardian Council, an election watchdog whose members are either directly or indirectly selected by the supreme leader.

Discontent stemming from economic hardships and political and social repression is expected to result in a low turnout on Friday, similar to the record low of 42.6 percent witnessed in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

There have been calls for a complete boycott of the elections from activists both inside and outside the country, and a recent survey conducted by Iran’s state TV revealed that more than half of the respondents expressed indifference towards the upcoming polls.

An electorate of over 61 million, out of Iran’s total population exceeding 85 million, is eligible to vote.

Khamenei claimed that the United States and Israel “fear [Iranians’] participation in the elections more than anything else.”

Lack of participation in elections poses a threat to Iran’s national security, he said.

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