Friday, December 08, 2006

To vote, or not to vote

I have often wondered how boycotting elections benefits Iran. Behrooz Ghamari asks the same question in his article in Payvand:

The Donkey and the Date: On the Upcoming Municipal Council Elections in Iran:

"There is an expression in Farsi that describes people who want contradictory things: those who want both the donkey and the date. These are people who are never mistaken, and see all situations in the context of their own interests. Iranians and their Euro-American supporters, those who advocate boycotting every election in the Islamic Republic, cannot have it both ways. They cannot argue that the office of the president (and all other elected offices) is politically impotent, while also lamenting the repressive nature of the Ahmadinejad presidency and how he is taking the country back to its early postrevolutionary period. This poses a dilemma for these universal boycotters. If elected officers make a difference, for worse or better, in the Islamic Republic, then why shouldn't citizens vote? There are many different positions on this question ranging from single-minded abolitionists, whose agenda is regime change in Iran, with or without the help of their neocon brethren, to those who recognize the differences between different factions, but argue that participating in elections legitimizes authoritarian institutions such as the Guardian Council. Although the reasons for boycotting elections may differ, the result is the same: low voter participation has devastating consequences for reform candidates."

What do you guys think?

1 comment:

Irani said...

You must remember that these elections are not democratic. Those who are selected for people's votes were handpicked. Also, there are much speculations to whether the vote count is legitimate.

The real question is, what is the point of taking part in such a stupid system, where by voting you are both agreeing that you are taking part in a democratic election, and also legitimising the matter.

Since the reform movement proved not to achieve much, there is not really any point in taking part anymore unless you are supportive of the regime.