Imam Khomeini and the health of elections

Imam Khomeini and the health of elections

One of the important achievements of Imam Khomeini's (pbuh) movement after centuries of tyranny, monarchy and autocracy of great powers is holding elections in a free, popular manner and with awareness to all people and all classes.
In this context, Hazrat Imam emphasized on the universality of the election and bringing in all classes of people from men and women, old and young, urban and rural, university and seminary, literate and illiterate, businessman and professional, etc. He gave a different color to this matter and ordered that all people should be involved in their destiny and participate in this important matter. In this way, Imam gave personality to everyone and made them responsible. All this while Pahlavi was strongly against the presence of women in the Faramashi elections and considered those elections as a ground for bringing women to the field for other issues because they were pursuing their colonial goals and said:

The religious duty of us all to articulate and urge that the Women Suffrage Bill not be executed; and if this law is enforced, other things will follow.

 It refers to the Provincial and District Councils Election Bill in which women, in a show of democracy, were given the right to vote (suffrage) and to be elected. Knowing the ultimate goals of the Shāh’s regime, the Imām declared his objection to the ratification and enforcement of this law. (Sahifeh-ye-Imam. V 1. P 77-78)

In another place, he explains the opposition to the participation of women in elections at that time and also the danger of their participation with the goals they had: 

O Muslims of the world! Know that the reason why the ‘ulamā’ of Islam protested against the Provincial and District Councils Bill was not the issue of the women’s suffrage. This was too unimportant to entail the general uprising. The point was that the ‘ulamā’ and the clergy perceived that the tyrannical regime was meant to distort Islam with a demonic scheme and to restore the old ways. (sahifeh-ye-Imam. V 1. P 157-158)

All the words of the Imam in those days emphasize the unhealthy nature of elections and he believes that the way to healthy elections is the freedom of the people and the press and media. The dependence of the media and the lack of freedom of the press and the imposition of representatives by the monarchy and especially the first person of the country, namely the Shah, have been important concerns of the Imam and other dignitaries. Because the Imam believed that these representatives are not the people's representatives and represent the government imposed on the nation, and there is no way for real representatives to enter the National Council, because the authoritarian power of the Pahlavi government does not show that independent and free representatives from the People get into the parliament and become the hair on the government's nose, so only the representatives chosen and proposed by the government get into the parliament.

Imam Khomeini after Black Friday (17 Shahrivar 1357) and the killing of people in Tehran's Jhale Square (Shohada) in response to the French Radio-TV reporter who stated:

In connection with what the Shāh had stated before the recent events about free elections being implemented, what stand will you take? 

... (shah) held his free elections on “Black Friday”! Really, can such a government hold free elections? If what the West is saying of really being on the side of progress is true, it should know that the most sublime sign of the development of human beings is the free expression of their opinion. (Sahifeh-ye-Imam. V 3. P 491)

Another warning of the Imam is to the representatives who did not go to the parliament with the real vote of the people and the integrity of the election was damaged and they got into the parliament by imposing powers and with huge expenses and by choosing others. This warning is meaningful at all times and for all jobs, and even now representatives and officials should pay attention to this religious, moral, legal and humanitarian point.
Therefore, a society in which the integrity of elections is not guaranteed and external pressures affect it and people cannot determine their own fate easily, such a society based on the principles of Imam Khomeini, human rights are not respected in it. In such a society where all matters are imposed, human rights do not find meaning, because the first principle of human rights is freedom of choice, which does not exist externally and practically in this society. 

A note from: Hasan Pouya

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