An editorial in Mardom Salari (pro-reform daily) titled, “The Messages of the Election of Dr. Hassan Rouhani” maintained that the 11th presidential elections carried several important messages, which if not ignored, can provide us with an analysis of what has happened in Iran over the past 8 years and even a glimpse into the years to come:
- General tendency to get rid of the extremists The vote for Dr. Rouhani indicates that people have a general tendency to get rid of the extremists. Rouhani had more of a moderate tone than the others, and this is why people voted for him - a vote for stability and moderation.
- Big no to the principlists The vote for Dr. Rouhani was not only a negation of extremism and dictatorship, it was also a big no to the principlism that has held some of the power or has supported the principlist government by opting for silence. The people have successfully proven that they have serious criticism of the principlists’ administrative style. Despite the presence of principlist candidates, who in recent years have been using all the media resources and other things, they voted for a person who in the last eight years has even been prevented from appearing on national television.
- Decisive yes to the reformists The vote for Rouhani was a decisive yes to the reformists, because when Mohammad Reza Aref stepped aside and after Hashemi Rafsanjani and Seyyed Mohammad Khatami supported Rouhani, he was the candidate of all the reformists in the presidential election, and the people showed they are more interested in the reformist policy. Consensus on a single candidate demonstrates the reformists’ political maturity.
- Decisive victory The vote for Rouhani was so decisive that even if the principlists had agreed on a single candidate, they still would not have had a chance at winning, because the total number of votes for the four principlist candidates was lower than the votes for Rouhani, and this meant hiding the defeat of the principlists behind the veil of multiple candidates… Even if the election had gone into a second round, due to the serious disagreements among the principlists, some of their votes certainly would not have gone to their final candidate and not even a consensus would have solved any of their problems.
- A vote for Rafsanjani and Khatami The vote for Rouhani was also a vote for his two key supporters, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Seyyed Mohammad Khatami. Over the past four years, the regime had pushed Hashemi and Khatami to the sidelines. However, the people showed that they still believe in the reformists and the moderate policies of Rafsanjani and Khatami, and that they have not been forgotten because they were out of sight.
- Vote in rural areas and small cities also inclined towards Rouhani This means that contrary to what some people thought, not only were the subsidies paid to this class of people not helpful, the economic problems and unstable policies had a strong impact on their lives. They also have an accurate understanding of conditions in the country and are determined to change them.
- Importance of the silent votes; next government must appreciate these silent votes The silent votes are always decisive in any election, and the prevailing election conditions were right for silent votes. When Aref stepped aside, the support from Khatami and Rafsanjani on the one hand and the support on the election scene by the active reformist political parties on the other, restored the hope that if the people turned out and voted they would be able to change the outcome of the election for their own benefit. The silent vote also played a role in changing the future and hope for change. However the important thing is that the owners of the silent votes must remain on the scene, and the next government must appreciate these silent votes and deepen the interaction between the government and the people.
- Rule of rationality and wisdom The public distanced itself from emotions. There was no longer any sign of the passion and excitement of the previous (June 2009) elections, nor the sensitive circumstances of that time. The people voted rationally and deliberately without excitement.
- Public desires to change the method of the nuclear negotiations An important message from the presidential election was the public’s desire to change the manner of the nuclear negotiations, which had been criticized not just by the reformist candidates, but also by some of the principlists (Ali Akbar Velayati, IDB). Resistance does not conflict with reducing tension but the candidate on the Supreme National Security Council (Saeed Jalili, IDB) was not able to lift sanctions from Iran with his negotiation strategy, and he continued to emphasize resistance to the group that had been called the Uncertainty Current. In this election he got a negative response and a low vote from the people. “I am not implying that this election was a nuclear referendum, but I believe the people compared the nuclear performance of the former (Rouhani) and present (Jalili) Secretaries of the Supreme National Security Council and voted for the moderate and interactive trend in the diplomacy of the nuclear talks, not the present trend, that has led to a dead end and increased economic and political pressure on the nation.”
- Rejection of populism and populist measures Populism and populist measures reached a peak when Ahmadinejad came to power, but their unpleasant impact and negative consequences showed that they cannot have a lasting impact. Instead of voting for the candidates who promised to increase subsidies, the people voted for the candidate who not only promised to increase subsidies, but who emphasized economic stability above all else, which does not have a short-term or tangible impact for the people.
Mardom Salari concludes by maintaining that the most important message in Hassan Rouhani’s election can be seen in the Tehran market. The prices of the dollar and gold coins decreased, providing the first practical sign of the rule of reason and stability. Today Iran needs stability and peace more than at any other time, and this is a need the people have also understood well and shown in their votes. In the last eight years, the nation has faced many problems in various realms. Overcoming them is time-consuming and difficult. However, with good sense and moderation this negative impact (of these eight years) can gradually be eliminated. However, it will require much effort. Now that the people have shown the way with their votes, one can put the nation on a better path in the context of prudent measures to delineate a better future for the people. An editorial in Jomhouri Eslami (affiliated with Rafsanjani) maintained that Rouhani’s victory demonstrated that the Iranian people’s voted ‘yes’ for moderation, “saying no to extremist ideology… Moderation does not necessarily mean compromise with the hegemonic powers (the West) and ignoring the (nuclear) right of the Iranian nation… The right of the nation can be gained through reliance on logic and will.”