So extensive was the publics' apathy to Khatami's election sham and his repeated television appeals to 15-year-old youngsters to vote (even with birth certificates that carried no pictures) that the state-run television channels were unable to show a sing le scene of a big turnout or of long lines in front of polling stations during the entire voting period.
The Interior Ministry's Deputy on Parliamentary and Legal affairs told IRNA on November 26 that the number of the eligible voters across the country was 43 million. On this basis, in the Greater Tehran area, 7.9 million people are eligible to vote. On sit e observations in Tehran's polling stations indicate that despite an added six hours to the voting period, the turnout was less than 900,000 (11.4%).
The boycott of the elections in Kurdish cities and regions were also very impressive.
Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, lauded the Iranian people for refusing to take part in the mullahs' councils' sham. He said: The Iranian people's unity of action today again confirms unequivocally the illegitim acy of the clerical regime and all its factions. This is particularly the case since this time all pro-Khatami candidates were ordered by the mullahs' President to write "confessions" of loyalty to the principle of "velayat-e motlaqeh faqih" (absolute sup remacy of clerical rule). In other words, in a most pathetic and treacherous fashion, they trampled upon principles of democracy and the right of the Iranian people to a representative government.
Mr. Rajavi pointed to the regime's laws about "Islamic councils," including article 26 of the law adopted in 1996 according to which candidates must not only have "practical commitment to Islam and the velayat-e faqih" but must also believe in them. Artic le 25 of this law, he added, stipulates that "those affiliated with illegal parties and organizations, those condemned for taking action against the Islamic Republic, those convicted of apostasy and those condemned to religious punishment," are "denied th e right to be members of the councils." The NCR President stressed that owing to the inherent contradiction of the "velayat-e faqih" with the right of the people to a representative government, this regime is in no way compatible to councils and a system based on councils.
Moreover, Mr. Rajavi said, the savage suppression of the people of Sanandaj and other cities in Iranian Kurdistan by Khatami's officials and the arrest of thousands of defiant youngsters in cities across the country on the eve of the elections demonstrate that as far as suppression and the violation of the right of the people to sovereignty are concerned, the regime's various factions are not different from one another.
The backgrounds of candidates nominated by Khatami's faction for "Islamic councils" in Tehran, who have been running the organs of suppression for the past two decades, do not give the Iranian people any reason to be interested in, or notice the mullahs' councils, he noted.
Mr. Rajavi predicted that this election will ultimately have no winners within the regime and would only push the clerics' internal conflicts toward a fatal tug-of-war. Events in the days before the elections and violent and armed actions by different fac tions against one another testify to this reality, the NCR President concluded.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 26, 1999