Iran's 11th Presidential Election (No. 20): High Voter Turnout Victory for Iran

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hassan Beheshtipour

Hassan Rohani has been declared the winner of the June 14 presidential election with 50.7 percent of the vote in an election which saw 72.7 percent voter turnout.

Out of 36,704,156 votes cast in the election, Rohani secured 18,613,329 votes, according to Interior Ministry’s tally. The outcome of this election was largely different from previous ones’. To analyze this historic event, the following points are highlighted.

Election result analysis

1. The election of Mr Rohani by the majority of voters was unexpected for most analysts who insisted that the Islamic Republic had engineered the elections either through the Guardian Council or vote arrangement. The unexpected results of this election proved all such speculation wrong.

2. In this election, the integrity of the Islamic Republic in counting the votes was another portrayal of national authority to the world.

3. Restoring national credibility which had been undermined due to the problems created by the 2009 election was one of the biggest achievements of this election which saw the victory of the current administration’s rival candidate.

4. The acceptable behavior and performance of the Ahmadinejad Administration in holding an astonishing election at a time when Esfandiyar Rahim-Mashaei, the main candidate of the administration, had been disqualified is undoubtedly an important step towards a good ending for the administration who was repeatedly accused of trying to adopt unconventional positions and disrupt the healthy election competition environment in favor of the disqualified candidate. But everyone saw that such baseless accusations are merely helping create a security atmosphere in the elections and the baselessness of such accusations was proven.

5. Mr. Rohani’s success in winning over the majority of the voters in the last week of the campaigning is on one hand because of the sacrifice of former First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref who withdrew from the race in favor of Rohani after referencing former President Mohammad Khatami’s letter so that the vote would not be divided. On the other hand, the convergence of Khatami and Rafsanjani created a strong union of all moderate tendencies including reformists and moderationists in support of Rohani. Such strong support prepared the grounds and gained the trust of the majority of participants in the 2013 election to vote Rohani.

6. Principlist candidates made the same mistakes as the reformists in the 2005 election. In that year, reformists who believed they were unrivalled power refrained from forming a coalition among themselves and the Executives of Construction who supported Rafsanjani. Therefore due to divided vote among reformist candidates, Mr. Ahmadinejad reached the second round and in the end managed to defeat Rafsanjani and become the 6th Iranian president. In this election, it was the principlists who made a historic miscalculation and instead of unifying Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, competed against one another. Therefore, the total votes of these three added was 12.5 million. But if they had united the elections would have reached a runoff stage.

7. Qalibaf, whose bid had come to an end after the first round of election in 2005, had had eight years to prepare for the vote. But he failed to draw the votes of the majority of people and the elite. The vote of the elites was important in this round because in recent years they have learning towards the reformists. In previous elections, the elites had shown that in the shortest period of time they could create election waves. Mr Qalibaf failed to woo the people. And despite his brilliant track record, the positions he adopted in the televised debates left a negative impression on the people which could not be erased even with a documentary-style campaign film.

8. Velayati, a seasoned Iranian diplomat, could not make up for going back on his promise to people to quit the race and accept the results of opinion polls in favor of Qalibaf and former Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel. Perhaps he decided to remain in the race due to pressure or miscalculation, a decision that saw him come in fifth place among six candidates which in itself is a lesson for the principlists to learn to deliver on their promises.

9. Rezaei’s votes in this election greatly increased compared to last elections and this is considered a victory for him, but seeing that his votes were less than a person like Jalili who was running for president for the first time was a clear message for this wartime commander that the people do not trust managers who have yet to enter the modern executive and management arena. They cannot trust an individual who has not had experience as a minister or deputy minister in the past two decades. Perhaps Rezaei and Qalibaf will find positions in the interior or economy ministries in Rohani’s administration so that they will have enough executive experience at the highest levels over the next four years.

10. Mr Jalili managed to win the people’s votes with the Islamic Revolution discourse - people who could accept that one can have revolutionary management while safeguarding the principle values of the Islamic Revolution. Evidently, most voters had not reached this understanding that his limited six-year experience as Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council will cause him to be successful on this path.

11. Mr Gharazi, the last candidate, learned that the people need politicians and technocrats who can attract competent and committed to the people managers more than individuals who are good at critiquing the past.


The 11th presidential election in Iran made history and is a focal point in religious democracy in the history of the Islamic Revolution. Moderationists took the reign of the affairs to form a transfactional, rational and team-oriented administration.

 *A researcher, documentary producer, and expert on nuclear issues, Hassan Beheshtipour was born on June 22, 1961 in Tehran. He received his BA in Trade Economics from Tehran University. His research topics span from US and Russian foreign policy to the Ukrainian Orange Revolution.

Source: Press TV

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