2017 Iranian presidential election
Candidates' registration took place from 11 to 15 April 2017. Incumbent president Hassan Rouhani was eligible to run for re-election. His rivals were the conservatives' top candidate Ebrahim Raisi, the Islamic Coalition Party's Mostafa Mir-Salim and Mostafa Hashemitaba who ran with no partisan support.
Rouhani was re-elected for a second term. According to results announced by the Interior Ministry, Rouhani received 23.5 of 41 million votes counted. His closest rival, Ebrahim Raisi, received 15.7 million votes. Rouhani was inaugurated on 5 August 2017 taking oath of office for the second time at the Parliament of Iran.
Any Iranian citizen above 18 years of age was able to register as a presidential candidate. An institution called the Election Monitoring Agency (EMA) and managed by the Guardian Council vets registered candidates and approves a handful to run in the election. The Guardian Council does not publicly announce the reason a particular candidate is rejected, although those reasons are explained to each candidate. Women who register as candidates have invariably been excluded from standing for election by the Council.
- 11 April – Start of the election process with the Minister of the Interior's order
- 11–13 April – Governors establish Executive Boards
- 11–15 April – Registration period for candidates
- 15 April – Registration ends at 18:00 IRDT
- 16 April – Guardian Council begins vetting registered candidates
- 20 April – Guardian Council addresses objections from disqualified candidates
- 20 April – Final list of candidates announced
- 21 April – Final candidates launch official campaigns
- 17 May – End of campaigns
- 19 May – Election date
Registration and vetting processEdit
During the five days period, a total of 1,636 individuals put their name to run for president, an increase over the 686 candidates in the previous election in 2013. Among the candidates was a record number of 137 women. Hundreds of the applicants were ordinary people with no political background and clearly lacked the criteria cited in the article 115 of the constitution, which is being considered among "religious and political rejal" ("men" or "personalities", according to different interpretations). Many criticized the law, which allows almost anyone to register to run. Some intended to gain public attention, including political prisoners Mehdi Khazali and former MP Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, and some women tried to challenge the judicial interpretation of word rejal as "men", most notably Azam Taleghani. On 20 April 2017, the Guardian Council announced a list of 6 approved candidates. The list contains incumbent president Hassan Rouhani, incumbent vice president Eshaq Jahangiri, Astan Quds Razavi custodian Ebrahim Raisi, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mostafa Mir-Salim and Mostafa Hashemitaba.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his vice president Hamid Baghaei were disqualified. Ahmadinejad, who was advised by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei not to run for the election, wrote a letter in September 2016 to him, pledging that he would not run. On 11 February 2017, he officially declared that he would not back any candidate, however, in a video released on 19 March 2017 he announced his support for Hamid Baghaei and surprised observers by himself registering to run.
|Candidate||Party affiliation||Slogan||Previous offices|
|President (since 2013)||
|N/A||N/A||Caretaker Commander of the Shahrbani (1980–1981)|
In his statement, Ghalibaf accused current president Hassan Rouhani of financial mismanagement and asserted that he and his supporters were "revolutionary opportunists." The statement read:
The fight against pseudo-revolutionary opportunists has become highly costly, because this current is gnawing at the roots of the Revolution like a termite...[They] are not only at odds with the intellectual fundaments of original revolutionaries, but also represent a current whose material interests are at risk.
- On 16 May 2017, candidate Eshaq Jahangiri urged people to vote for Hassan Rouhani in his speech in Yasuj, and dropped out of the race and endorsed Hassan Rouhani in his speech in Shiraz.
|Candidate||Party affiliation||Slogan||Previous offices||Endorsed|
|Mayor of Tehran (since 2005)||N/A||N/A|
Debates and TV programsEdit
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) provides each candidate with 210 minutes for campaign talks on TV, and there would be three debate sessions on politics, economics, and social pressing issues aired on Channel 1. On 20 April 2017, Election Campaign Monitoring Commission announced that there would be no live debates and it will broadcast prerecorded, however, after vast criticism from candidates and Iranian people the commission revoked its decision two days later. Candidates are scheduled to air dedicated programmes on IRIB TV channels and radio stations, 555 minutes for each per candidate, and a sum of 1,470 minutes including the debates.
Campaigning platforms and techniquesEdit
The election was characterised for usage of populist practices and mudslinging. The conservatives launched smear campaigns against the reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani, while he initially maintained positive campaigning. Rouhani later changed strategy by straightly attacking his rivals and the incumbent administration used fearmongering tactics to encourage people to vote.
"Populist" is a new label lately associated with Rouhani's predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as with his current "hardline" conservative, religious extremist or "Principalist" (as they prefer to be called) opponents. Unlike their counterparts in the West, however, Iranian populists represent the establishment, with Rouhani, the liberal internationalist or reformist, as the opposition. They have tended to benefit from Western comparisons in terms of the appearance of legitimacy. Khameini's ideal of pursuing a "resistance economy" in response to threats of sanctions, rather than diplomacy, is seen as the counterpart to Donald Trump's withdrawal from international trade deals or Theresa May's promises of increased UK sovereignty and prosperity after leaving Europe. Rouhani resisted pressure to block social media, whereas increases in state control of the media and alternative facts have long been a feature of the political strategy of Khameini and hardliners.
Telegram instant messaging service, the most widely used messaging application in Iran, reportedly has more than 45 million users in a country of nearly 80 million as of April 2016. It serves as a platform for Iranians to express their political opinions and played an important role in the campaigns for the elections held in 2016 for Parliament and Assembly of Experts. Twitter is blocked in Iran, however, Iranians use proxies to tweet and those that create a buzz, then travel to Telegram channels, where "they can potentially reach a much wider audience" according to BBC.
Tactical nomination of JahangiriEdit
|“||Rouhani and I are side-by-side.||”|
|— Eshaq Jahangiri|
President Rouhani's ally and first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri is standing in the election to support him during the campaign and in TV debates, being called as a ‘fender’ or ‘cover candidate’ by Iranian media, and will possibly later withdraw in support of the incumbent president. The idea was allegedly recommended by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was a key backer of Rouhani before his death in January 2017. Another reason for the nomination was to have an ‘alternative candidate’ in case the Guardian Council disqualified Rouhani or raise his profile for a bid in 2021.
Jahangiri withdrew in favor of Rouhani on 16 May 2017.
Hashemitaba's endorsement of RouhaniEdit
Candidate Mostafa Hashemitaba released a statement on 15 May 2017 and endorsed Rouhani, but refused to quit the race. He said he “will vote for the current president to help extension of this government's constructive approach.”
Conservative consensus candidateEdit
Among the approved candidates, Ebrahim Raisi, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Mostafa Mir-Salim are regarded as figures of the conservative camp, which intended to bring one single candidate for the election. Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces endorsed both Raisi and Ghalibaf, and it was unclear if any of them would drop out in favor of a fellow conservative.
On 15 May 2017, Ghalibaf gave up his bid in favor of Raisi.
Islamic Coalition Party released a statement on 18 May 2017, announcing it supports Raisi's bid for presidency following the withdrawal of Mostafa Mir-Salim, despite the fact that Mir-Salim denied that he is withdrawing from the race.
Endorsements and positionsEdit
- Religious communities
- Armenian community of Iran maintains 'positive neutrality' and has no common decision on endorsing any candidate.
- Iranian Sunni community were inclined to re-elect Hassan Rouhani according to Molavi Abdul Hamid, leading Sunni figure who has endorsed Rouhani. Strategic Council of Iran's Ahl Sunnah (RĀSĀ) and the Sunni fraction in the Iranian Parliament expressed support for him.
- Exiled opposition
- Six exiled Kurdish opposition organizations declared in a joint statement that they boycott the election. They include the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Komala, the Kurdistan Communist Party, the Kurdistan Struggle Orgniztaion, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the Iranian Kurdistan Communist organization. Their call was mostly ignored among Kurds in Iran, however. The turnout of the election was 58% in Kordestan Province, around 70% in West Azerbaijan, over 75% in Kermanshah Province and over 80% in Ilam province.
- Exiled People's Mujahedin of Iran and its front NCRI boycott the election.
- Reza Pahlavi, leader of the National Council of Iran and pretender to Iran's deposed throne labeled the election a “deception” and called on Iranians to boycott it.
The election was kicked off at 8 a.m. (IRST) on Friday, 29 May 2017. It was held in domestic 63,429 polling stations, in addition to some 14,000 mobile ballot boxes. It involved around 1.5 million executive forces and monitors, 350,000 security forces, 70,000 inspectors, and around 100,000 representatives of local governors.
Polling stations abroadEdit
Among the citizens eligible to vote in the election, about 2.5 million lived abroad and the elections were held in 103 countries, including the United States.
Canada, which hosts at least 400,000 Iranians, does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, a situation which hindered participation of Iranian citizens. However, some traveled to the United States in order to vote.
According to final results, 41,366,085 voted from a registered electorate of 56,410,234. Turnout was 73.33%. The Ministry of Interior announced results gradually after midnight (local time), after polls closed. Final results were announced at 8 June 2017.
Split percentages are from the Ministry of Interior of Iran, based on all votes cast. This is because 50%+ of all votes is needed to win the first round.
|Hassan Rouhani||Moderation and Development Party||23,636,652||57.14|
|Ebrahim Raisi||Combatant Clergy Association||15,835,794||38.28|
|Mostafa Mir-Salim||Islamic Coalition Party||478,267||1.16|
|Mostafa Hashemitaba||Executives of Construction Party||214,441||0.52|
|Invalid/blank registered votes||1,200,931||2.90|
|Total registered votes||41,366,085||100|
|Source: Ministry of Interior|
The table below displays the official vote tallies by province:
|Provinces/districts won by Rouhani|
|Provinces/districts won by Raisi|
|Chahar Mahaal and Bakhtiari||270,619||218,607||5,576||2,115|||
|Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad||183,641||176,140||2,052||632|||
|Sistan and Baluchestan||875,398||313,985||5,933||3,471|||
The table below displays the official vote tallies by country:
|Countries won by Rouhani|
|Countries won by Raisi|
|United Arab Emirates||9,919||1,127||63||39|||
Maps and graphsEdit
Allegations of foreign interferenceEdit
During the elections, several Iranian analysts and officials and warned a possible foreign electoral intervention.
Judiciary head remarksEdit
The head of Iran's judicial system, Sadeq Larijani, warned that enemies made a "huge investment" to undermine and exploit the elections: "The enemies may want to deal a blow to the Iranian political system during the elections".
President of Tatarstan visitEdit
On 20 April 2017, Rustam Minnikhanov - President of Tatarstan and Vladimir Putin's envoy, met with candidate Ebrahim Raisi in Mashhad in Raisi's capacity as Head of Astan Quds Razavi. MP Alireza Rahimi questioned the meeting and asked for explanations about the reasons for it, citing alleged Russian interference in 2016 U.S. election. “The recent meeting raises the suspicion of interference in the elections, which is not appropriate”, he said.
|2017 Presidential vote by demographic subgroup|
|Demographic subgroup||Votes: Rouhani Raisi|
|18–45 years old|
|45 and older|
|High school or less|
|Human Development Index|
Tens of thousands of supporters of President Hassan Rouhani poured into the streets of Tehran to celebrate the incumbent's re-election. The Tehran Stock Exchange rallied after the election results came out, extending a recent winning streak to close almost 1% higher at its highest level in three months.
- Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a message commending the Iranian people for their "massive and epic" turnout in the country's twin elections: "The winner of yesterday's elections, is you, the Iranian people, and the Islamic establishment, which has managed to win the increasing trust of this big nation despite the enemies' plot and effort." He did not congratulate Rouhani, contrarily to what had done following the previous election in 2013.
- Among lost candidates, Mostafa Mir-Salim and Mostafa Hashemitaba both congratulated Rouhani on his reelection, but Ebrahim Raisi did not. Rouhani was also congratulated by withdrawn candidates Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Eshaq Jahangiri.
- Hassan Rouhani made the following remarks in a televised speech following the announcement of his election victory: "Iranians clearly and explicitly sent their message to the world through the Friday elections", adding "Our nation wants to live in peace and friendship with the world, but at the same time, it will accept no humiliation or threat."
- Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani congratulated Rouhani on his reelection to the office.
- Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: "We derive stability not from ‘coalitions’, but from our people, who – unlike many – do vote. Iranians must be respected and are ready to engage." There were some reports that Donald Trump wanted to create a Sunni 'coalition' in the Arab world against Iran during his visit to Saudi Arabia, where elections are an anomaly.
- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: On 7 March 2017, IRGC commander-in-chief Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said “Like in the past, nobody in the IRGC, neither the guards nor the commanders, is permitted to interfere in the elections politically or factionally and to discredit the candidates”. On 1 May 2017, Deputy IRGC Commander for Political Affairs Gen. Rasoul Sanaei told press that IRGC “will not support any candidate in the May 19 presidential election”.
- United Nations - Secretary-General António Guterres congratulated Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, speaking to reporters on Monday evening in New York, said Guterres' message includes a willingness to maintain cooperation with Iran on issues of mutual interest.
- European Union - High Representative Federica Mogherini congratulated Rouhani on his victory: "Iranians took passionately part to political life of their country".
- Afghanistan - President Ashraf Ghani, on behalf of the Afghan people and government, congratulated the people and government of Iran on Rouhani's re-election. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also congratulated the re-election of Rouhani in Iran's election.
- Armenia - President Serzh Sargsyan sent a congratulatory message to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election. Karekin II, the Armenians' religious leader sent a congratulatory message to President Hassan Rouhani on his reelection. "With your leadership, the fatithful Iranian people would pursue their advances towards their country's development and progress," his message reads.
- Azerbaijan - President Ilham Aliyev congratulated his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as president.
- Canada - Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said her country "welcomes President Rouhani's commitment to continue implementing Iran's nuclear obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to improve the lives of ordinary Iranians."
- China - President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as president, which will give him a second four-year term.
- Croatia - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic sent a congratulatory message to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as president.
- Cuba - President Raúl Castro congratulated Rouhani on his re-election to the top executive post. Castro also underlined the expansion of mutual cooperation between the two countries.
- France - President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Rouhani for his re-election and said this reinforced the hope his government would apply the international nuclear agreement, his office said in a statement.
- Georgia - President Giorgi Margvelashvili congratulated the victory of Hassan Rouhani in the election: "I am confident that by your excellent management, the outlook for the expansion of ties between Tehran and Tbilisi is bright, and I am waiting for a visit to reach such goal".
- Germany - Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel congratulated Rouhani on his re-election as president, stressing closer cooperation between Germany and Iran.
- Hungary - Prime Minister Viktor Orbán congratulated Hassan Rouhani on his re-election. In his message to Rouhani, Orbán said: "I assure you that Hungarian government will continue high-level negotiations with Iran to reinforce economic cooperation and promote ties between the two countries."
- India - Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rouhani on his re-election, calling to strengthen relations with Iran.
- Iraq — According to the official statement of the Iraqi government office, the Iraqi president Fuad Masum offered his warmest wishes and congratulated Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as the Iranian president. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi also congratulated President Rouhani for being re-elected as president of Iran and stressed that Iraq has good relations with all the neighboring countries.
- Israel — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview published on 11 April 2017, said “I wouldn’t be surprised if during the Iranian election on May 19, somebody assassinates the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani”.
- Italy - President Sergio Mattarella congratulated Rouhani on the occasion of re-election to the top government post, in a message: "I am willing to give my sincerest congratulations in my name and Italy's for the important results achieved in the elections, and I wish success for you in the second term in office". Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni congratulated Rouhani in a message on his Twitter account. He also expressed confidence in friendship between the two nations and in relations between them. Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, congratulating the victory of Hassan Rouhani, underlined Italy's support for the JCPOA. Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Democratic Party, called the result of Iran's election "important" and added that victory of Iran's reformists is fundamental to the Middle East region.
- Japan - Prime Minister Shinzō Abe felicitated Rouhani on his election victory, voicing hope that the Iranian president will continue to play a constructive role for peace and prosperity in the Middle East. Abe said he was looking forward to working with Rouhani on bolstering cooperation between Tehran and Tokyo in various fields. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also sent a similar congratulatory message to the Iranian president.
- Kazakhstan - President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a message congratulated Hassan Rouhani on his re-election as the president of Iran. He also hoped that Rouhani's re-election will help promote bilateral ties between Iran and Kazakhstan, as before.
- Kuwait - Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent separate messages of felicitation to Rouhani.
- Lebanon - President Michel Aoun congratulated Rouhani on his re-election, wishing him well during his second term in office: "The world looks forward to continuing the approach of openness and dialogue that you have called for in order to fortify the region from the dangers that beset it". Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri also applauded Rouhani on his presidential victory.
- Netherlands - Prime Minister Mark Rutte congratulated President Hassan Rouhani on his re-election in a message. He highlighted Iran's significant role in regional developments and called for deepening bilateral relations between Tehran and Amsterdam.
- Nicaragua - President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo extended their congratulations to Rouhani, on his re-election as President of Iran.
- Norway - Foreign minister Borge Brende welcomed the re-election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Brende echoed the sentiment of Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who said Rouhani's re-election sends a message that Iran could be serious about instituting reforms.
- Oman - Omani King Sultan Qaboos cabled a message on Saturday to congratulate President Hassan Rouhani on his re-election for a second term. He wished for his successful tenure as the country's president.
- Qatar - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar issued a message congratulating President Rouhani on his return to the office. Prime Minister of Qatar Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani as well as Deputy Emir of the Arab state Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani also cabled separate messages to felicitate President Hassan Rouhani on his victory.
- Russia - President Vladimir Putin congratulated Rouhani and called for deeper ties between Moscow and Tehran.
- Singapore - President Tony Tan Keng Yam congratulated Rouhani on his reelection and said: "Your strong electoral mandate reflects the high level of trust the Iranian people have in you and your tireless efforts to reintegrate Iran into the international community and global economy."
- South Africa - President Jacob Zuma congratulated the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, on his re-election for a second term. Zuma said South Africa looks forward to working with Iran under President Rouhani to consolidate relations and implement existing agreements.
- South Korea - The Government of the Republic of Korea congratulated Rouhani on his re-election and expressed hope that "Iran plays a more constructive role in the international community, moves towards prosperity and development, and promotes its friendship with the ROK in a mutually beneficial way".
- Spain - Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy congratulated the re-election of Rouhani in a message: "I am confident that the two countries can help restore peace and stability to the Middle East region".
- Sri Lanka - President Maithripala Sirisena cabled a message to President Hassan Rouhani to congratulate his re-election as the country's president. In the message, he expressed the hope to witness bolstering of mutual relations during Rouhani's taking office.
- Syria - President Bashar al-Assad congratulated Rouhani. He wished Rouhani and the Iranian people more success, stressing the continuation of work and cooperation with Iran to enhance the security and stability of the two nations, the region and the world.
- Tajikistan - President Emomali Rahmon congratulated his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his re-election. President Rahmon wrote in a message: "Iran and Tajikistan enjoy excellent ties and beneficial cooperation in different fields, in the wake of their cultural and historic commonalities".
- Turkey - President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated his Iranian counterpart Rouhani over his recent election victory, according to a presidential source. The two leaders who spoke over the phone also vowed to improve bilateral ties.
- United Kingdom - Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson congratulated Rouhani, calling for the full implementation of the JCPOA.
- United States - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Rouhani to end the country's ballistic missile tests, human rights abuses and what he called its "sponsorship of terrorism".
- Vietnam - President Tran Dai Quang released a congratulated message to his Iranian counterpart Rouhani on his re-election. The Vietnamese president hailed the achievements made by the current government in foreign and domestic policies during the past four years.
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Media related to Iranian presidential election, 2017 at Wikimedia Commons