August 3, 2021

Between disillusion and anger, many Iranians choose to abstain from the presidential election

“Some underprivileged sections of society rightly complain that their expectations have not been met in recent years. So they don’t want to participate in the elections. (…) But not taking part in the elections does not solve the problem. Vote for whoever gets to solve these problems! ” In a tweet published Wednesday evening June 16, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, urged the Iranians to go to the polls on Friday June 18 to elect a new president.

Announced at a record level, the abstention rate is the stake in Friday’s vote. The conservative candidate and head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raïssi, is promised a certain victory. According to the Center for Iranian Student Surveys (ISNA), a semi-official agency, only 42% of those polled on June 16 said they will “definitely” participate in the poll. In the 2017 presidential election, which saw the re-election of moderate Hassan Rouhani to a second term, the turnout was 73%. Met in several districts of Tehran, the abstainers claim their intention not to vote as an act assumed. Between anger and sadness.

On a street in the popular east of town, Shirine, 24, with a colorful shawl and strong character, would have turned us away if a trinket seller hadn’t asked us to move away. “Come, we’ll talk next door”she says, loud enough to be heard. ” More, she adds, I don’t have much to say about the election. I don’t vote. “

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“We are not happy with the regime. This is the case for all my family and my relatives. I don’t even know them, these candidates. And I don’t even want to know who they are, she explains. What I do know, however, is that after each election the situation gets worse. The rate of inflation, unemployment, insecurity, the harassment that women suffer… I could go on like this for a long time, you know ”, she adds. What does she aspire to? ” To work. I don’t ask them for a job, I want there to be work. ”

“My problem is the diet”

If Shirine would like to work, Sohrab, sitting on a bench in Daneshjoo Park (“student” in Persian), not far from Tehran University, would have liked to study. Taking advantage of the coolness of the park, in the protective shade of the trees, he points out with a sad pout the young people who wander, bags on their backs, in the alleys. He had to give up his studies from high school. The fault of an accident of life with irremediable consequences in a modest family: the death of his father, a few years ago. Support of his family, he has been doing odd jobs ever since.

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