Monday, January 28, 2008

Parliamentary election going to take place in this coming March in Iran.Here is an article expressing a view pint.

Choice between the Lesser of Two Evils -

By: Mehrangiz Kar ,Ahuman rights advocate and a well known women rights activist.

It is widely thought that Iranians have accepted - at least in the political realm - that their ‎choices in the forthcoming parliamentary elections on March 14, 2008 are limited to ‎picking between the lesser of two evils. However, Iranian people are not satisfied with ‎this limited choice, and their silence should not be interpreted as a sign of their approval.‎
In the years following the victory of the Islamic Revolution (1979), two types of ‎ideologies have been active with respect to elections. One approves of people’s ‎participation in the controlled elections, while the other resists people’s participation in ‎these elections. The issue of boycotting elections has become a controversial one in ‎recent years, with heated discussions between opponents and proponents of a massive ‎boycott. ‎
A considerable size of eligible voters has consistently boycotted elections in the Islamic ‎Republic. However, the discussion over boycotts did not become public until the reform ‎movement began. On Friday, 2 Khordad of 1376 [the day of the 1997 presidential ‎elections], a huge majority of eligible Iranian voters undermined the boycott supporters ‎and unexpectedly cast their votes to reformist Mohammad Khatami. It was a great ‎victory for him, still more than 14 million eligible Iranians refused to vote onthat day! ‎
Immediately after taking office, Khatami realized the limitations facing him, particularly ‎when forming his cabinet. On the other hand, powerful conservative forces were ‎frightened by the prospect of mass public participation. Planning to halt national reforms ‎began and conservatives united in their opposition to the reform platform. They claimed ‎that reforms were a ploy to overthrow the regime through “legal mechanisms.” All those ‎who were interrogated as reformists know well how fearful intelligence officers were of ‎the reform movement, thinking that the movement is preparing for a soft, gradual ‎overthrow of the Islamic Republic. But no matter how much they tried, they were not ‎able to find a connection between this amazing phenomenon and foreign intelligence ‎services. ‎
Finally, the systematic suppression of reforms and the weakness of reformists themselves ‎led to the defeat of the reform movement. Some reformists blamed their conservative ‎opponents in the government for the failure of reforms, as if opponents of reforms were ‎the ones to advance the reformist agenda! Things got so bad that some decided never to ‎participate in elections. People were not able to achieve anything with their massive ‎participation in the 1997 elections. As a result, they distanced themselves from their ‎government more then before and focused on their personal lives. They still have not ‎reduced this distance under the backbreaking pressure of inflation, stress, and ‎unemployment. ‎
Now, the mismanagement of the Ahmadinejad Administration has given reformists new ‎hope to participate in a new election game, even if they face danger of losing. On the ‎other hand, the mismanagement of Ahmadinejad Administration has frightened the right-‎wingers and enticed them to look for solutions. Both sides, the one who knows it will ‎lose, and the other who knows it can achieve majority in the Majlis with the help of ‎Guardian Council’s disqualifications, have entered the game knowing the outcome. ‎
People, however, are convinced that their choice is between the lesser of two evils. The ‎problem is that they do not know which one is bad and which is worse. They only know ‎that the current administration has made things worse than they were. ‎
With the Guardian Council and the election law, no one hopes for free elections. ‎Furthermore, people do not know how to distinguish the bad from worse. ‎
In a situation where people do not know how candidates for the Majlis will put an end to ‎the shortcomings, many of them will participate in the election with the mentality that ‎their vote can at least help things not get worse than they are now. This kind of ‎participation, which many embark on unwillingly, is, of course, not a serious and active ‎participation. Also, one must not forget that obtaining the stamp on their birth certificates ‎is another enticement for many voters. The birth certificates that have been stamped, of ‎course, cannot change the country’s political landscape – but they have other advantages ‎for the voters.


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