These days, the political and media circles in Iran are preoccupied with the expectations of the turnout in the 13 presidential elections, to be held on June 18, and which represent a challenge for the country’s political elites.
Many observers and opinion polls indicate that the turnout is likely to be lower than in previous years, just as the parliamentary elections last year witnessed the lowest participation rate since the beginning of the revolution in 1979 until now, which amounted to 42.5%. Read also France: Tactical problems and the internal situation in Iran impede the revival of nuclear talks المحادثاتIran… Will the “resistance economy” achieve its goals in light of US sanctions?
In the first round of the presidential elections in 1980, Abul-Hasan Bani-Sadr won with a turnout of 67.5%. But in the second round in 1981, 64% of eligible voters cast their ballots, and elected Muhammad Ali Rajai as president before his assassination that same year.
Then the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei won the third and fourth presidential terms in 1981 and 1985, with a turnout of 74% and 54.8%, respectively. The people also elected Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as president in the fifth and sixth terms of the presidency in 1989 and 1993, with participation rates reaching 54.6 and 50.7% respectively.
Muhammad Khatami was president of the seventh and eighth rounds, and he managed to defeat his rivals in 1997 and 2001, with a popular participation of 80 and 68%. In 2005 and 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad managed to win the ninth and tenth rounds of the elections, and the participation rate reached 60% and 85%, respectively, which is the highest participation rate in the Iranian presidential elections so far.
In the 11th and 12th rounds, which were held in 2013 and 2017, the people elected Hassan Rouhani, with the participation of nearly 73% in both periods.
One of the most important factors that have a great impact on citizens ‘satisfaction and their participation in the various electoral periods, especially this round, are economic and living issues, on which the presidential candidates’ propaganda focuses most.
Political analyst and media expert Ali Asghar Shafiyan believes that the deterioration of the economic situation is the result of a series of measures that could be related to the internal administration, foreign policy or US sanctions, but people see the result and do not care about the method of work, and these results affect the people’s decision to participate in the elections.
Shafaiyan added – in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – that in addition to economic issues, the conflict and attack between the internal political factions, as well as the method of selecting and excluding presidential candidates from various political currents by the Guardian Council, all have an impact on the people’s decision to participate.
One of the citizens, Hamid Al-Ragal (a retired fifty-year-old from the Ministry of Education), says that he has not yet decided to vote in the presidential elections, and despite his participation in the previous elections, it is possible that he will not do so this time because he does not see a suitable option among the candidates, after the Guardian Council excluded most of them.
The most important demands
Hamid adds – in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – that his main concern is the economic problems, and that he voted for the fundamentalist and reformist factions in recent years, but he did not feel any tangible change and that inflation and the price of the dollar are constantly rising at the time of all governments.
Nazanin (a design student at the Free University) criticized the Guardian Council’s disqualification of a number of presidential candidates, and says that it has become clear who is the next president, and she does not see the need to participate in the elections, because all candidates are making promises now and are absent at the time of implementation.
Citizenship indicated that reforming the political structure and the local economy – instead of focusing on the outside to revive the economy – may be a way out of the current situation and restore public confidence, she tells Al Jazeera Net.
The lack of approved candidates for the reformist movement, in the presidential elections this year, prompted many analysts and officials to warn of the consequences of the decline in people’s turnout for the elections.
President Rouhani also stated that the legitimacy of the regime depends on popular participation, and if the elections take place from the eyes of the people (ignore it) one day, then this means the end of all revolutions (popular revolutions throughout Iran’s history).
The issue of whether or not to participate in the elections has become a very hot topic in the Club House app these days in Iran. While election proponents point to the benefits of participation, others consider non-participation a sign of the dynamic of a society that does not ignore issues around it and looks for solutions.