How Rouhani won the Iranian presidential election

Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh writes: Although some analysts are trying to argue that the vote for Mr. Hassan Rouhani was, in fact, a negative vote to the Islamic establishment’s policies, it was, in reality, a vote to moderation and foresight. These two concepts were major components of Mr. Rouhani’s election campaign as well. The high vote garnered by Mr. Rouhani was the result of the collective effect of a number of variables as follows:

– His fair – and at the same time categorical – criticism of certain policies followed by the incumbent administration;

– His finesse in defending his own viewpoints, track records, and policies in televised debates, especially in the second and third debates;

– The full and all-out support provided to Mr. Rouhani by former presidents, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami;

– The smart move by the other reformist candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, in withdrawing his presidential bid without declaring his official support for Mr. Rouhani. As a result, the clear demarcation between Mr. Aref’s purely reformist attitude and Mr. Rouhani’s moderate views was maintained;

– Increased political understanding on the part of the Iranian people as they were well aware that they could only play a crucial part in determining their own fate through participating in the political process, not by boycotting it;

– The great effort made by Mr. Rouhani and his election campaign to carefully observe the rules of the political game and their clear commitment to pursuing any possible protests to election process through legal channels as specified by the Iranian Constitution. This was very important because it redirected the votes of the mostly traditional sectors of the Iranian society toward him as they were afraid that voting for the reformists would only increase conflicts and tension in the society.

– Another important factor was the clerical nature of Mr. Rouhani, which played an effective role in attracting the votes of a large part of the religious people to him as well as the votes cast by the ordinary people in villages and small towns. There were also many other, less significant factors at work. [Continue reading…]

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