The majority of users who took part in Zamaneh Media’s latest opinion panel, most of whom live in Iran, say that they will not participate in the upcoming February 2020 election. Many will also call for a general boycott. At the same time, panellists believe that the next parliamentary election will fail to provide meaningful change for the country. The majority of panellists consider the election not to be free and are of the opinion that elected MPs will not represent the general populace.

The 11th round of parliamentary elections in Iran will be held on 21 February 2020, with 290 seats to be filled for a four-year term through a nationwide election.

Zamaneh Media recently launched an opinion panel asking users a series of questions about the upcoming parliamentary election.

Zamaneh Media’s Opinion Panel is a platform in which users can join to provide a series of demographic data about themselves and have the option of returning to the panel to take part in specific surveys. In the past three weeks, hundreds of Zamaneh’s audience have joined the panel and have participated in the surveys. They represent diverse backgrounds but participating users are predominantly from inside Iran.

In the third survey presented on Zamaneh Media’s Opinion Panel, we asked the panelists about their views on the 2020 Iranian Parliamentary Election. We wanted to find out what significance they attribute to the Islamic Consultative Assembly (also known as the Majlis). We also asked users if they intend to participate in the 2020 Majlis election and if they see Iranian elections as free and fair.

This is Zmananeh’s first survey regarding the upcoming 2020 elections. A total of 319 users, among them 84 previously registered panelists, participated in this poll. We will conduct more polls as the 2020 Iranian Parliamentary Election gets closer.

 An Election in Times of Political Tensions

The survey was conducted in the first week of August 2019, at a time when the Islamic Republic of Iran experienced pressures from multiple fronts. Iranian people are in distress and concerned with the level of government mismanagement and economic corruption.  The state’s suppression of citizens’ rights and dissidents is alarming and the lack of freedom of speech is felt my media professionals and social media users. The economy is at an all-time low due to the return of sanctions after the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The value of Iran’s currency has dropped to record lows and its annual inflation rate has quadrupled. Over the last month, international tensions have added to the anxiety of Iranian people and made many anxious about the possibility of war and military conflict between Iran and the U.S.

A Timeline of Events in the Last Three Months:

  • May 2: The United States ended waivers that had allowed eight countries to continue buying Iranian crude oil.
  • May 5: The White House announced that the Pentagon is sending the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to the Middle East.
  • May 8: Iran said that it is ready to increase the enrichment of uranium and heavy water production.
  • May 12: Saudi Arabia said that two of its oil tankers were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
  • May 19: Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,”
  • May 24: Donald Trump ordered an additional 1,500 troops to be sent to the Middle East.
  • May 27: During a visit in Japan, Donald Trump commented on Iran: “It has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership, we’re not looking for regime change, I just want to make that clear. We are looking for no nuclear weapons.”
  • June 13: Two tankers were attacked south of the Strait of Hormuz.
  • June 20: Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone.
  • July 4: Royal Marines seized the Iranian supertanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar.
  • July 7: Iran said it will boost uranium enrichment above the current cap.
  • July 18: The United States said it “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
  • July 19: Iran seized British-operated oil tankers Stena Impero and Mesdar.
  • July 31: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard claimed to have detained another tanker
  • August 5: UK joined the US in a ’maritime security mission’ in the Middle East.

Polling on Iranian Parliamentary Election

During the first week of August 2019, between 5 and 8 August, 319 Zamaneh Panelists took part in our third online survey. The key findings were:

  • Panelists believe the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) is disconnected from Iranian citizens.
  • Majlis is not on the top of the country’s affairs.
  • The next parliament will not provide the springboard for the fundamental and necessary changes that Iran needs.
  • The election will not be free and the elected MPs will not be representative of the Iranian people.
  • A great majority of panelists will not participate in the election.
  • Panelists intend to encourage others not to participate in the upcoming Majlis election.
  • Most of our panelists believe there will be a very low turnout in the upcoming 2020 Iranian election.

Iranian Majlis: Disconnected from Citizens, Unable to Deliver Change

When asked “Do you think the upcoming February 2020 election will be particularly important in light of the current situation of the country?”, about 47% felt that this election will not be important even under the light of the current crisis in Iran, and about a third of the panellist said this election would be important.

Question Two: Do you think the upcoming Parliamentary
election will be particularly important in light of 
the current situation?

Only one percent of the panelists believe that parliament is dealing well with Iranian affairs. More than a half felt that the Majlis is disconnected from citizens and around 43% said that the Iranian parliament is a weak mediator between the people and its leaders.

Question: What is the stance of the parliament in Islamic Republic structure?

There is a consensus that Iran needs a major overhaul and serious change. But when the readers were asked that “can the parliament make change happen?”, most of the panelists believed that parliament cannot currently lead political change, and only 5% were positive that the result of this election will provide an answer to this need.

Question: There is a consensus that Iran needs a major overhaul and serious
change, can the parliament do that?

Only 1 percent believe that the parliamentary election in Iran will be free. 12% of the panelists said that the parliamentary election will be relatively free. Most of the Zamaneh panelists (86.5%) said that the electives do not represent the people and that the election will not be free.

It is not surprising then that more than 87% of the panelists said they are going to boycott the election while only about 5% said they will participate in the upcoming election.

From those who will participate, 60% will encourage others to do so. From those who plan to boycott the election, 70% said they will also encourage others not to vote.

Moreover, 85% of the panelists believe there will be a low turnout in the upcoming election

We asked those who predicted a high turnout to give reasons for this prediction. 72% of them said they would rather vote for the current bad situation rather than to wait along and do nothing for the worse.

Left: Will you participate in the Parliamentary election?
Right: Do you predict a high turnout?

We also asked those who predicted a low turnout for the reason behind this belief.

They cited disappointment with the reforms already put forward by parliament, general distrust of the system and the limitations imposed by the “approbation supervision” system in which the Guardian Council vets candidate before the election. The users cited the aforementioned as reasons that they are no longer eager to participate in the upcoming 2020 election.

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Zamaneh Panelists: “No to War, No to the Iranian Regime!”