Analysis of Iran’s 2024 Presidential Election and Masoud Pezeshkian’s Victory

Masoud Pezeshkian
Masoud Pezeshkian, the new elected Iranian president (Credits: Mehr News Agency, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Persian Files ISSN 2975-0598 Volume 23 Issue 2
Author: Maryam Fattahi Manesh

The 14th Presidential Election in Iran is over. Reformist lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian wins Iran’s Election with 16.3 million votes. The participation of Iranian people in this election was 49.8%. His rival, Saeed Jalili, won 13.5 million votes.

This early election happened because of the helicopter crash of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, which led to his death and the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian. According to the Presidential law in Iran, if the president dies, elections must be held within 50 days and a new president must be nominated.

In this writing, we are going to introduce Masoud Pezeshkian and his views, examine how votes are distributed in different regions of Iran. Then we will analyse the results of this election.

Who is Masoud Pezeshkian?

Masoud Pezeshkian, 69 years old, holds a professional doctorate in medicine and general surgery from the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, as well as a subspecialty in cardiac surgery from the Iran University of Medical Sciences.

Massoud Pezeshkian has a history of representation in the 8th, 9th, 10th (vice-chairman), 11th and 12th terms of the parliament from Tabriz, Azarshahr and Esku constituencies. He also was as the Minister of Health in the 8th Government (Reformists) and the head of Shahid Madani Heart Hospital in Tabriz.

He had previously registered twice to run for the presidential election in the 11th (2013) and 13th (2021) periods.

In 2013, before announcing the names of qualified persons, he withdrew from participating in the election contests in favor of Hashemi Rafsanjani, and in 2021, he was not qualified by the Guardian Council.

The campaign slogan of Masoud Pezeshkian in the elections was “For Iran”.

Masoud Pezeshkian: A summary of the views in election campaign and debates

  • Reforming the economy is inextricably linked to foreign policy—namely, the standoff with the West over the nuclear program—and will negotiate the lifting of sanctions. The lifting of sanctions and the revival of Iran’s nuclear agreement with the West are among the main priorities.
  • Without proper and constructive communication with the world, Iran will not achieve eight percent economic growth, and it is not possible to achieve the eight percent economic growth mentioned in “The Seventh Development Plan” without communication or opening the borders of the country with the governments of the region and the world.
  • Oil, gas and also the geopolitical situation are among the advantages of the Iran’s economy today. Iran can be a transit from east to west and bring the most advantages in tourism and oil and gas to the people and the country.
  • The interests of the people have been involved in the competition of different political factions, and to solve it, the policy of “national consensus” and “national reconciliation” should be used.
  • He said in one of the debates: “My government’s foreign policy regarding the people of the Middle East region will be based on values ​​derived from Iranian culture and the teachings of the Imam Ali- The first Shiite Imam-, which teaches us that humans are either brothers with you in religion or equal with you in creation.”

Distribution of votes in Iran’s presidential election by province

Here’s the provincial map of Iran’s runoff election results by Peyman Assadzade, showing the winners by province. Pezeshkian mostly won in the northern and western provinces, while Jalili took the central and eastern provinces. It’s important to note that Pezeshkian received substantial support from provinces with significant minority populations. Kurds, Turks and Sunnis voted overwhelmingly for Pezeshkian.

Iran Presidential Elections Runoff
Iran Presidential elections runoffs map (Credits: Peyman Asadzade Twitter Account)

Saeed Jalili in 13 provinces of Semnan, Kerman, Southern Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, Markazi, Kahkilouye and Boyerahmad, Hamedan, Qom, Esfahan, Hormozgan, Bushehr and Yazd have won more votes from Pezeshkian.

Pezeshkian in the provinces of Kurdistan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan, and West Azarbaijan more than 80% of votes and in the provinces of Tehran, Kermanshah, Sistan and Baluchestan, Golestan, Zanjan, Ilam and Gilan won more than 65% of the votes.

Based on this, the imbalance of the votes of the two candidates in Azeri, Kurdish and Sunni areas is the main reason for the victory of Pezeshkian.

Analysis of the results

  • Although the votes of minorities and ethnicities had an effect on the result, it did not necessarily indicate the pattern of ethnic voting.
  • Contrary to past claims, the idea of ​​reforming is still popular in Iran.
  • The people of Iran see the way out of the current problems by electing a reformist person who wants to interact with the world.
  • The people of Iran are dissatisfied with the current economic situation, but they considered this election as an opening to get out of these problems with the idea of ​​reformism.
  • His unexpected victory against ultraconservative Saeed Jalili signals a potential shift in Iran’s political landscape.
  • His support for the women’s community and his promises to increase social freedoms led to the widespread favor of women. The presence of his daughter “Zahra” in all election campaigns was effective in this matter.
  • Criticism of Pezeshkian on filtering social networks and his promise to solve this problem brought young people with him. This issue shows that young Iranians want change in social issues.
  • Pezeshkian issued a de-escalation message to the world in order to resolve Tehran’s problems with the West by reviving the nuclear agreement.
  • The vote of the Iranian people, especially in the second round, was a type of negative vote to declare opposition to the policy of hardliners in Iran. In the second round of the elections, many participants – about 10% – who did not participate in the first round, not only supported Pezeshkian but also opposed Saeed Jalili.

Conclusion

The message of the Iranian people in this election was clear. Especially women and young want change in domestic social and economic procedures. On the other hand, the majority of Iranian people want more interaction with the West to remove sanctions and expand international relations and economic investments.

During the last few years, there have never been such conditions for de-escalation of tensions between Iran, Europe and the United States over nuclear issues. Even the election enthusiasm inside Iran caused Trump to adjust his positions and he announced that he will negotiate with the Iranian government from an equal position.

Therefore, it seems that any government that comes to work in the United States, whether it is the continuation of the Biden government or Trump, will think about de-escalation with Iran.


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