The supreme religious authority issued a statement stating its position on the Iraqi parliamentary elections during the second sermon of the Friday prayer held in the holy shrine of Imam al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) on 17th of Sha'ban 1439 AH corresponding to May 4, 2018, and which was led by His Eminence Sheikh Abdul Mahdi Al-Karbalai. Stating:
With the approach of the parliamentary elections, many citizens are asking about the position of the supreme religious authority from this important political event, and in this regard three points should be stated:
First, since the fall of the former tyrannical regime, the religious authority has sought to replace it with a regime that adopts political pluralism and peaceful transfer of power by returning to the ballot boxes in free and fair periodic elections, believing that there is no alternative to following this course in the rule of the country if it is wanted for it a future in which the people enjoy freedom, dignity, progress and prosperity and preserve their inherent values and supreme interests.
Hence, the religious authority insisted on the occupation authority and the United Nations to expedite the holding of general elections to allow Iraqis to decide their own future, by choosing their representatives authorized to write the permanent constitution and appoint members of the Iraqi government.
Today, fifteen years later, the religious authority continues to believe that following this course constitutes, in principle, the right and appropriate choice for the country's present and future, and that individual rule and authoritarian regime must be avoided under any pretext or title.
But it is clear that the electoral process does not lead to satisfactory results except with the existence of several conditions, including: that the electoral law is fair protecting the sanctity of the votes of voters and is not allowed to circumvent them. Also: that electoral lists compete for economic, educational and service programs that can be implemented away from personalization and national or sectarian anger and media controversies. Also: to prevent external interference in the election matter, whether financial or other support, and tighten the penalty for that. Also: voter awareness of the value of their voices and their important role in shaping the future of the country, do not give them to people who are not qualified for a low price and do not follow the whims and emotions or care for personal interests or tribal tendencies or so.
Certainly, past electoral experiments were marked by failures, many of those who were elected or appointed to high positions in the government abused their power and took part in spreading corruption and squandering public money in an unprecedented manner, distinguishing themselves by large salaries and allocations, and who failed to perform their duties in the service of the people and to provide a decent life for its sons, was a natural consequence of not implementing many of the necessary conditions - albeit to varying degrees - at the time of the elections, which is observed - in one way or another - in the current elections as well, but there is hope that the ruling course can be corrected and the institutions of the state can be reformed through the combined efforts of the people of this country and the use of all legal methods available for that.
Secondly, participation in these elections is a right for every citizen who meets the legal requirements. There is nothing that oblige him to exercise this right unless he is satisfied with the requirements of the supreme interest of his people and his country. Yes, he should pay attention that not exercising his electoral right may give additional opportunity to others whose votes enabled the elected to win the parliamentary seats, who may be very far from his aspirations for his people and his country. But in the end the decision to participate or not, remains an individual choice, about whom he is responsible in all cases, so he should be fully aware of the interests of the country and the future of its children when taking a decision about it.
Thirdly, the supreme religious authority confirms that it stands at equal distance from all the candidates and from all the electoral lists, meaning that it does not support any person or entity or list at all. It is all up to the voters' conviction and the opinion of the voters after the examination and scrutiny. And it is necessary to not allow no person or a party to exploit the title of the religious authority or any other title that has special status in the hearts of the Iraqi people, to gain electoral gains, all that matters is efficiency and integrity, adherence to values and principles, being away from foreign agendas, respect for the rule of law, being ready to sacrifice for the sake of saving the homeland and serving the citizens, and the ability to implement a realistic program to resolve crises and problems that have been aggravated for many years.
And the way to make sure of this is to see the practical process of the candidates and the heads of their lists - especially those who were in positions of responsibility in previous sessions - to avoid falling into the trap of those ... who are deceitful, corrupt and those who have failed, whether they have been tried or not.
We ask the Almighty God to take the hands of everyone towards the best of the country and the goodness of the slaves. He is The Guardian of that and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.