High Voter Turnout Will Help Tackle Nat’l Problems

High Voter Turnout Will Help Tackle Nat’l Problems High Voter Turnout Will Help Tackle Nat’l Problems

A prominent cleric appealed to the people to assume their role in addressing the problems of the country by helping elect the most competent candidates to the parliament, cautioning against boycotting the Feb. 26 votes.

"Today the society is suffering from economic problems, including high unemployment and inflation, on the one hand, and widespread discrimination and injustice, on the other, plus high drug addiction rates and cultural illiteracy," Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Hassan Khomeini was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Speaking to media directors in Tehran on Sunday, Khomeini said, "By making the right choices, we can help tackle these problems. So turning our backs on the ballot box under any justification is not the solution and will only prolong the problems."

The legislative poll is scheduled to run alongside the vote for the Assembly of Experts, a body authorized to pick the next leader of the Islamic Revolution. Khomeini, who is a grandson of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, sought to enter the upcoming race for the 88-seat assembly but was barred by the Guardians Council, the election screening body. The council later denied an appeal by Khomeini against his disqualification from running in the assembly vote.

"There is a lot to be said about what occurred in the past," he said of his exclusion. "However, I prefer to keep looking forward. Now we need to devote our full attention to the Feb. 26 elections."

  Votes Could Block Extremists

Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani issued an open statement on Saturday, stressing that next week's polls could help stop extremist views from gaining major ground among Iranians.

"Definitely, the Friday elections provide a great opportunity to help prevent political and religious extremism becoming entrenched in the society," Ayatollah Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The Expediency Council chief, who threw his weight behind the incumbent moderate President Hassan Rouhani in the 2013 presidential vote, said, "I am pleased to see wise and vigilant Iranians, especially women and the educated youth, who bear deep scars due to being subject to negligence and extremism, now advocate Islamic moderation." Rafsanjani reiterated a call to people from all walks of life to put their differences aside and turn up at the polls to cast their votes.