Statement of the Office of His Eminence The Sayyid (long may he live) On the 2018 parliamentary elections in Iraq
17 of Sha’aban 1439H

In The Name of Allah The Compassionate The Merciful

With the parliamentary elections approaching, many citizens are asking about the position of the leading Marja’iya on this important political event.  In this regard, three things should be stated:

1. Since the fall of the former authoritarian regime, the religious Marja’iya has sought to replace it with a system based on political pluralism and the peaceful transition of power by returning to the ballot boxes in free and fair periodical elections, believing that there can be no alternative to the conduct of this course in the governance of the country – if one wishes for it a future in which the people enjoy freedom and dignity, enjoy progress and prosperity, and preserve their unique values ​​and best interests.

Hence, the religious Marja’iya insisted on the occupation authority and the United Nations to expedite the holding of general elections to allow the Iraqis to decide their own future, by choosing their representatives who are authorized to write the permanent constitution and appoint members of the Iraqi government.

Today, 15 years after that date, the  Marja’iya continues to believe that the conduct of this course is, in principle, the right choice for the present and future of the country, and that it is necessary to avoid falling into the perils of individual and authoritarian rule under any pretext or title.

It is clear that the electoral process does not lead to satisfactory results unless several conditions exist, this includes:

·           *The electoral law is fair to protect the inviolability of the voters’ voices and is not allowed to circumvent them.

·           *The electoral lists competing for implementable economic, educational and public service programs, away from personalization and national or sectarian wrangling and media bids.

·           *And to prevent external interference in the election process, whether financial or any other support, and tighten the penalty for that.

·          *Voter awareness of the value of their voices and their important role in shaping the future of the country. They must neither give their votes, for a small price, to people who are not qualified nor follow whims and emotions or care for personal interests or tribal tendencies or such matters.

·         Certainly, the failures that accompanied past electoral experiences of abuse of power by many who were elected or occupied senior positions in the government, and their contribution to the spread of corruption and the squandering of public money in an unprecedented manner, and favouring themselves with large salaries and allowances and their failure to perform their duties in the service of the people -  providing them a decent life – was only a natural result of not applying many of the necessary conditions, even to varying degrees in the conduct of those elections, which is now seen in one form or another in the current elections as well.

However, there is still hope that the course of governance and the reform of state institutions can be corrected through the combined efforts of the people of this country and the use of other legal methods available for that.

2 - Participation in these elections is the right of every citizen who meets the legal requirements, and there is no need to exercise this right unless he is convinced of the requirements of the best interest of his people and his country.

Yes, he should pay attention to the fact that his abandonment of the exercise of his electoral right gives an additional opportunity for others to win their parliamentary seats. But in the end, the decision to participate or not is left to him alone and he is responsible for it in every respect, he should decide with full awareness and keenness in the interests of the country and the future of its people.

3- The leading religious Marja’iya confirms that it stands at equal distance from all the candidates and from all the electoral lists, in the sense that it does not support any individual or entity or list whatsoever. All this is left to the voters' conviction, and how after examination and scrutiny they base their opinions,

It is imperative not to allow any person or entity to exploit the title of the religious Marja’iya or any other title that has a special significance to the Iraqi people, for electoral gains. All that is to be considered is efficiency and integrity, adherence to values and principles and moving away from foreign agendas, respect for the rule of law and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the homeland and serving the citizens, and the ability to implement a realistic program to resolve the crises and problems that have been exacerbated for many years.

The way to make sure of this is to review the performance of the candidates and heads of their lists, especially those who were in positions of responsibility in previous sessions to avoid falling into the trap of deceitful losers, the corrupt and the tried ones or others.

We ask Allah Almighty the Omnipotent, to support everyone towards that which is good for the country and the integrity of the people. He is the guardian of that and He is the most merciful of the merciful.

Office of Sayyid Sistani (long may he live)
Najaf Al Ashraf