Big Coalition, Rational Election

Monday, February 29, 2016

Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri
President of the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Ballot boxes contain secret messages, which if decoded, can help officials better understand people’s main demands and also help them correct faulty approaches, which stand at loggerheads with people’s votes. In fact, by putting their trust in the election mechanism and making their tendency public, people have brought up their main demands and expect their elected officials to realize their demands, including by solving such problems as economic challenges and social maladies, while taking steps to boost the national security and so forth. In reality, however, after votes are counted, part of the hidden messages of elections is forgotten. Therefore, regardless of the result of the vote count, analysts and sociology experts must put on their agenda study of the election behavior of Iranian society and hidden messages that are embedded in it.

The vibrant general elections, which were held on February 26 with a turnout of over 60 percent of the Iranian people, were an informed decision and indicative of the political growth and maturity of the Iranian people for determining their destiny. Despite all limitations and all obstacles and challenges that faced the elections, people’s enthusiastic participation in the polls managed, not as a tactic but as a successful strategy, to curb the way to possible boycott of elections or unnecessary disputes. A huge capacity was created in these elections through coalition of three original and revolutionary currents, that is, reformists, moderates and moderate principlists, which was considered as a unique move in the field of domestic politics during 37 years that have passed since the Islamic Revolution. As a result, the move had raised hopes about people behaving rationally and in a smart manner in response to the farsighted measure taken by these currents. Now, another glorious epic has come about, which has offered the country with great opportunities.

Transition from populist and emotional election to informed election is a major achievement, which must be assessed and studied by sociologists. In the process of rational decision-making, the choice is made among possible options, not among desirable options, and making such decision needs a high level of rationality and awareness. In order for this approach to become a common practice, the society must reach a high degree of development so as to demonstrate rational behavior. Therefore, despite some claims that political development is not a major demand for people, I believe that political development is among top priorities of the development process in Iran; a process, which has started since 1997 and is gradually opening its way by going through many ups and downs.

Let’s not forget that due to weakness of civil institutions, the Iranian society is facing problems in the field of election campaigning and the path to election and correct discussion of social demands is not very smooth. Certainly, if there was more room for growth and strengthening of parties in Iran's political arena, election behavior in the society, would have moved toward more rationality in parallel to that growth. This is true because one of the main functions of parties is to facilitate election for people. Before it gets to the vetting process of candidates and through their internal mechanisms, parties can introduce more acceptable and more suitable figures in order to gain more popularity in the public opinion. By doing this, they will be also able to greatly reduce the costs resulting from disqualification of their candidates by the supervisory committees.

To the extent that the space for party-based campaigning is limited, the space grows for creating tensions, mudslinging, smear campaign and unethical behavior. This is why we were witness to unethical moves and insolent behavior in the course of recent elections. Such moves went so far that Iran's popular President Hassan Rouhani had to show reaction and emphasize in the face of incriminations that “do not insult the intellect of the [Iranian] people…. Do not magnify old and senile colonialists at the cost of demeaning the Iranian nation.” The nation, therefore, said a loud ‘no’ on February 26 to unethical behavior, and showed its abhorrence for destructive propaganda, mudslinging, false labeling [of reformist figures as being] British [agents], and unpatriotic approaches adopted by some media outlets.

From another viewpoint, the result of February 26 elections was a national referendum, which showed people’s approval of the approach taken by the [President Rouhani's] administration of foresight and hope, and was also a sign of people’s support for Mr. Rouhani's policies so that his administration would be able to continue treading the path, which it started in the spring of 2013, with more vigor, and take more resolute steps toward the implementation of JCPOA2.

Without a doubt, the main winner of this competition is the Iranian nation and the political establishment of the Islamic Republic in the first place, which has showed off its popularity and power to the world as a result of the Supreme Leader’s foresight, who called for people’s maximum election turnout. The next winner is all political currents within the [Islamic] establishment who played a role in elections while preserving their identity and observing clear demarcation with the opponents of the Islamic Republic. And in doing so, they earned their popularity and legitimacy not through behind-the-scenes dealings or by turning their back on the revolution, or through boycotting elections, but by referring to people’s votes. Continuation and strengthening of this approach can prevent any opportunity from being wasted and can give birth to major developments. One, therefore, may daresay that the national referendum held on February 26 was a product of the big rational coalition that took shape between leaders of reformist and moderate currents, on the one hand, and moderate principlists, on the other hand. It follows that holding wholesome elections and compliance with people’s votes will lead to an exponential rise in the confidence that has been rebuilt with the public opinion and can further increase the country’s social assets.

Key WordsIran, Big Coalition, Rational Election, Ballot Boxes, Votes, Economic Challenges, Social Maladies, Political Growth, Limitations, Domestic Politics, Iranian People, Demand, Campaigning, Unethical Behavior, Destructive Propaganda, February 26, Salehi Amiri

Source: Iran Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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