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Iran's Supreme Leader: Legitimacy comes from ballot boxes

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that legitimacy of the Islamic Republic comes from popular votes which is the essence of religious democracy, IRNA reported from Tehran.

In a meeting with several thousand university students and the youth, the Supreme Leader drew a line between religious democracy and western democracy and said that the western democracy respects the vote of the majority only in theory but none of the western governments have a majority. They even wage military coup when they see a popular government is in power. Examples for the western-style democracy is the military coup against Iranian popular government in 1953 and the military coup against the popular Chilean government of President Salvador Allende in 1973.

Elaborating on the characteristics of religious democracy, the Supreme Leader cited verses from holy Quran and said that in Islam, `piety and justice` are the pillars of legitimacy of the government. "In the meantime, there is no legitimacy without the votes of people. It is not effective without the people`s votes. Islam has placed special importance to the people`s votes to ensure the legitimacy of the government," the Supreme Leader said.

On the importance of the legislative body, the Supreme Leader said that legislation is equal to determining the fate of the people. "The representatives in parliament are empowered to determine the fate of the people and the country for four years."

The Supreme Leader said that elections are the symbol of religious democracy.

"Any decision the parliament makes should be put into practice. If anyone regards the parliament decision as unacceptable, he should doubt his own perception, since the representatives have been voted to parliament by the people," the Supreme Leader made it clear.

The Supreme Leader criticized the foreign radio broadcasts for repeating baseless perceptions giving example of their idea that the landslide victory to President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 was a negative vote for the Islamic Republic. The same landslide took place in 2001. "They also termed the low turnout in municipal election in Tehran as having a negative implication for the government."

... Payvand News - 12/17/03 ... --

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