R.evolution leader Ali Khamenei was one of the first to cast their vote in Tehran. “The sooner you do this duty, the better,” he said into the cameras. Whoever chooses, shape the future of the Iranian people. When he called on the Iranians to vote on the previous Wednesday, he admitted that “some” in the country were probably dissatisfied. But if you don’t vote, you won’t solve any problems, he said. So choose those who worked to solve the problems.
Apparently, however, a majority of Iranians do not trust any of the handpicked candidates for the presidential election to solve their problems. Even according to official figures, voter turnout dropped to 48 percent; never since the revolution of 1979 have fewer citizens taken part in a presidential election. When Hasan Rohani was confirmed in office four years ago, 73 percent of Iranians had cast their vote in the hope of an economic upswing and political liberalization. Now the hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, with a record-low turnout, received around 17 million votes to be declared the winner in the first round of elections by the Ministry of the Interior.
Protest voters voted for Batman and the Shah
The polling stations were open five hours longer than usual, until 2 a.m. on Saturday. The heads of the polling stations called on the Iranians almost desperately to prevent a “victory for the enemies of the republic” by voting. Recordings on state television with allegedly full polling stations turned out to be images of earlier elections. However, empty polling stations could be seen on social media. Even the officially stated voter turnout of 48 percent is likely to be too high. So Friday was a referendum against the Islamic Republic. This was underlined by the fact that after the roughly 17 million votes for Raisi, the four million invalid votes were the second winner. On these, the voters had noted, for example, “Batman” or the “Shah”.
Not only many disappointed Iranians, but even leading clerics had criticized the lack of options that had resulted from the preselection of candidates by the Guardian Council. Former justice chief Sadegh Larijani, whose brother Ali Larijani was disqualified for the presidential election and who is himself a member of the Guardian Council, was reprimanded after criticizing the decision, whereupon Larijani humbly apologized. The way in which the Guardian Council itself presented the revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei was unique. He had described the disqualification of prominent candidates as an “injustice”. The spokesman for the Council of Guardians insinuated that Khamenei obtained his information from social media. Khamenei did not react further, but left it at this snub.
A fundamentalist with no theological qualifications
The attacks on leading clerics such as Khamenei and Larijani are a mystery. It is possible that the school of the fundamentalist chief ideologist Mohammad-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, who died at the beginning of the year, will prevail in the Islamic Republic. He had always rejected elections because, in his opinion, it was not up to the people to determine the leadership of the state themselves.