A Kayhan editorial by Hossein Shariatadmari warns the conservative candidates of dispersal in an article titled, “Invisible Engineering.” The hot topic these days is which of the candidates is the most deserving. This question is not being asked so much by “those known for reforms” or by their supporters since their perspective is that of a herd, proving many times that they do not have any independent thoughts. One day they collectively attack Rafsanjani. The next day, the herd supports him and presents him as a prominent personality and savior of the country! Among pure conservatives, however, in other words the many people who are faithful to the Revolution and the regime, those who are present in the arena in the most important days such as Qods Day (Jerusalem Day) and Revolution Victory Day, among these people, there is serious concern in finding the right candidate. They see themselves as being committed to vote from an independent stance and out of a sense of personal duty. Several conservative candidates are in this arena, with their various strengths and weaknesses. It does not appear that any one of them will withdraw to benefit the other. To choose the most deserving candidate, there is a standard formula that can provide a good solution. Before this, one must recognize the situation and understand the arena:
- According to reliable information, a serious effort is being made to encourage Aref to withdraw in favor of Rouhani and this will probably happen. The reformists’ assessment is that they have no chance of winning and in order to become a noteworthy minority in the political arena, they need one candidate for the entire front. According to the report from a source close to the reformist front, Rafsanjani was pressured into demanding the withdrawal of Rouhani in favor of Aref, while Khatami was pressured to demand Aref’s withdrawal in favor of Rouhani. Since Rafsanjani already promised to support Rouhani and since both gentlemen realized that Rouhani was gaining more votes than Aref, the decision was made on Aref’s withdrawal. As this article is being written, the reports were discussing Aref’s vehement objection to the decision, and some of his supporters are even discussing an “invisible engineering” against Aref. The decision to encourage Aref to withdraw was also met with protest by several of the main members of the reformist front, but this protest was forgotten following the explanations provided to them by Khatami.
- The reformists know that they have no popular basis to win a noteworthy number of votes. The question is then asked – on what basis and where are they looking? This front, according to the estimates, has no hope of winning and is apparently not interested in winning. So what is the story? It can be said that this front is not looking for the desired advantage in winning a large number of votes but (more interestingly) in a dispersal of conservative votes. If conservative votes are dispersed, the conservative candidate will be elected with a low number of votes. In this case, the reformist front can use this as propaganda to state their candidate won with a percentage that was not much lower than the conservative candidate. Public opinion does tend to compare voting percentages for the winning candidate against the losing candidate and does not take into account that the conservative front has several candidates.
- It is now important that the conservative candidates pay attention to the following. External enemies are making an effort to keep citizens away from conservative discourse, but without much success. They have not, to date, managed to seriously affect the citizens’ affiliation with the conservatives, which is in fact an affinity to the Revolutionary and Imam’s discourse. Now that they have failed, can they not be expected to try to achieve their goals by increasing the number of conservative candidates? Although the dispute centers around style and not principle, in any case, the people are leaning conservative. In any event, they are considered different channels, and if these channels of the same current compete among themselves, which is unfortunately what is happening, there is a possibility that the entire current will be harmed. In other words, exactly what the enemy wants! The conclusion must therefore be drawn that the multiple number of conservative candidates is not an intelligent move. It should be noted that the decision to encourage Aref’s withdrawal is serious and final, and if they manage to do so, they will delay the announcement so as not to allow conservative candidates to decide on unity.