However, despite Arab and Western media following the elections, viewers can see that focus is placed on some aspects more than others. What I care to show in this article is how the candidates presented their electoral programs before all the Iranian people in complete freedom, a matter not discussed by Western media for some reason or other.
We had discussed the presidential elections in earlier reports, and we’ll discuss the debates themselves later on. This report, however, will discuss the chance given by the electoral supervisory commission to present their programs equally, and communicate with the Iranian people through state media; and as we had previously said, the IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran of Iran Broadcasting) opens its airways to the candidates in equal measure to present their programs.
At first, the IRIB distributes the time between the candidates according to six schedules at six different times. Each candidate has 1110 minutes, 555 for the TV and 555 for the radio. If we add in the debates each candidate gets a total of 1470 minutes.
The six schedules were distributed among the candidates by way of a lottery supervised by the electoral supervisory committee and deputies on behalf of the six candidates. This was also broadcast live on air.
As for the six schedules and broadcast times, though different in timing, they contain the same titles:
TV shows and titles: Recorded speech (once), recorded dialogue (twice), answering questions of Iranian expats (twice), news interview (twice), documentary by the candidate (twice for two shows), answering questions of Iranian youth (once), dialogue with three specialists (once)
Radio shows and titles: introduction of political program (twice), news interview (twice), interview with Youth Radio (twice), interview with Al-Maaref Radio (twice), interview with Sport Radio (twice).
Based on the aforementioned titles, which address all segments of Iranian society, a direct space of communication between the electorate and the candidates is created. Even more so, candidates are given the right to campaign in different cities in provinces, but are banned from using any government facilities in doing so, especially not by candidates currently in power.
Moreover, the candidates’ different campaigns coordinate meetings between specialists on both sides of the political spectrum to look into specialized matters posed in the campaigns in detail, using documents and studies, the goal being to show the seriousness of the candidates, and is an opportunity for each candidate to prove that he is the most worthy, and refute his rival’s claims through grounded evidence.
Some of the candidates decided to keep to the opportunity provided to them by the IRIB, and so have not formed political campaigns, but rather spoke to the Iranian people through the time allotted for them. The others, on the hand, have embarked on wide campaign tours to different cities and Iranian provinces for a number of reasons, including providing direct contact with all segments of Iranian society, and to work on their electorate’s problems and concerns should they get the opportunity to serve them through their presidency.
The polls conducted by the IRIB have revealed that nearly 60% of Iranians have seen the first debate conducted on April 5th, whose topic was socio-cultural concerns. This indicates the importance Iranians give these debates to determine their position on the most suitable candidate.
After the start of the presidential race, and the beginning of the chances allotted for each candidate to advertise for himself and his programs, a parallel movement also takes place by influential religious and political figures in the country, and some may not have a specific candidate in the beginning, but after the passing of some time since the beginning of campaigns, these figures, and sometimes parties, choose their candidates, stressing that their choice was built upon much scrutiny among different political programs, to arrive at the end at the conclusion that candidate X is the most suitable for the presidency.
As for Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei, he gives the standards to which the candidates must commit, including their focusing on people’s problems and concerns, and not looking outside the borders for solutions to economic problems, instead relying on internal sources and powers, without calling anyone by name. The reasons is that he’s the father and guide for all segments, be they conservative or reformist. He also calls upon Iranian voters to carefully choose the best candidate by following the aforementioned standards.
To be continued…
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