rahnam News Agency’s political group – Mostafa Aghajani, the secretary of the political marketing core of the Imam Sadiq University (AS) growth center, in a conversation with the rahnam news agency’s political reporter, discussed issues related to the election system in the world and in Iran.
Question: What is the idea of the institution of elections in political thought?
Aghajani: The first question that should be mentioned here is what do we mean when we talk about the institution? In the field of western sociology, there have been various interpretations of the institution, but if we want to summarize these cases and put them in a way that does not conflict with our principles, we must say that the institution refers to the set of norms and responses that over time and in It has been formed during the creation of interactions and social communication and has a property of efficiency, continuity and general acceptance.
On the assumption that we accept these things for a social institution in relation to a social and political institution such as elections, it cannot be returned to just an idea or an opinion. Rather, both its institutional feature and a look at the history of the formation of such an institution confirm the fact that various components have been influential in the creation and realization of such an institution. Therefore, the institution of elections should be explored separately in each country or at least in each paradigm.
Therefore, it is not possible to examine this institution and its formation on the one hand and its functions and effects in the social sphere on the other hand in different societies in the same context and describe it in a single version for all of them. If we want to examine this institution in its western square, we must say that the elections in the west are the result of many things that were formed in the intersection or succession of each other.
From the way of looking at the relationship between religion and the government, the way of looking at man and its relationship with spirituality and the existence of God, the way the church interferes in social affairs and things like this, until the participation of social and economic groups and categories, and the formation of absolute governments and the basis for Using people’s power to arrange a new quality of governance. Therefore, it should be said that the institution of Western elections is a conscious and unconscious collective political product by various parts of the Western world in Europe.
If we want to think about the role of elections in global geometry in the big horizon, we must say that elections are among the softwares or in other words innovations that have helped the West to achieve its goals and used it well as a competitive product against the East. In this confrontation, which was on one side, the West was led by the United States and the East was led by the Soviet Union. The elections, which were based on key concepts such as the right to freedom and the right to participate in the destiny, provided the possibility for the West to confront its opposite governments. put his people
Therefore, in the geometry of the Western strategy, elections have a special place to address the public opinion of nations at the national level and public opinion at the world level, and this scheme or system should not be easily ignored. With the advancement of communication technologies and the development of techniques, techniques and tools of persuasion and political warfare, this matter has now become more prominent and we are actually witnessing the direct interference of Western governments in countries based on the election field. Therefore, in a preliminary summary, it should be acknowledged that the idea of elections, regardless of its originality or instrumentality, is currently working and benefiting the dominant political currents in the international arena.
Question: When and how does the election body come up with this idea?
Aghajani: Elections are a multi-faceted product in the life of the western world, which came to life and matured as a result of challenges between different sectors and groups in an effort to dominate the western politics of new groups and benefit the fat bourgeois group. There is a substantial difference between this election and what we are talking about in our own society. Because the institution of elections in our country is understood under the institution of the province.
An institution that moves forward and works by relying on the two wings of legitimacy and acceptability, and cannot be without any of its two wings and powers in order to move things forward. Therefore, the institution of elections in the idea of the Islamic Revolution does not satisfy the division of power or the separation of powers in the first place. In other words, although it has some fruits, it supports the principle of democracy.
A feature that is the difference between elections in the West and Iran. Therefore, when the elections in Iran deviate from the provision of this idea in various ways (for example, government interference, or the use of misleading advertising techniques, or the presentation of deceptive promises by candidates and movements, etc.), the election institution suffers from malfunctions.
Question: What other institutional groups, such as parties, media, civil society, education, etc., is the election institution connected to in order to meet its expectations?
Aghajani: The first thing that should be noted is that the institution of elections belongs to these institutions and not to others. In other words, if we take each of these parts from an election institution in a country, we will witness the change of that election institution in the same proportion. For example, we can refer to the institution of elections in the sixties and now.
In relation to these departments and institutions, it should be said that political parties are one of the old institutions of the world of politics that have found modern editions in interaction with new models of democracy, but the common denominator of all these models is that they formulate and integrate social interests and They regulate the political programs of countries and nations and advance the whole process through the relationship between the government and society.
Parties prepare and introduce election candidates and leaders of political fronts and help the stability of the governments after the election. Another connection between elections and parties is the issue of participation, which forms the basis of the parties’ activities. They shape citizens’ political participation over time and its spillover flourishes in elections.
Another dimension is the media, which has gained double importance especially in recent years. The election institution has a functional vacuum without a platform to present to the citizens and members of the people. Since the election has two directions in a primary division (supplier direction and demand direction, which of course are fluid ratios in the groups involved in the election), the media and the custodians of communication are the foundation for connecting these parts to each other.
In addition to connectivity, the media itself can be defined as an independent actor. In fact, the media, during its design and permanent settings, are somehow effective on the election institution and on the alternate election results, and they do this through culture formation, taste formation and rule formation, and as a result, behavior formation.
Question: What is the function of elections in a democratic system and how are these functions strengthened and weakened?
Aghajani: Elections in different countries have their own meanings and implications. Unfortunately, in the scientific literature, reductions are made to use the achievements of other countries in specialized subjects. For example, a comparative study of elections in European countries and Iran. The market for such researches is also hot in our think tanks on various topics.
The point is not that we should not use the experiences of other countries, but we are pointing out that the election institution in each country has special considerations and requirements that we must be aware of in adapting and exploiting them. If the system is truly democratic, which I think the number of such governments in the world is very few, its main function depends on the people taking a role and experiencing in the governance process.
In other words, in a democratic government, it is desirable to have an electoral institution that determines the process of elections and the use of institutions and actors in the political arena in such a way that its main interest flows towards strengthening the popular construction of the government. If this is what we want; Therefore, we must look at the components that weaken this role from the point of view of threats.
One view of the damage of these functions is the damage of the institutions under the election institution. In other words, if we do not have properly functioning parties and political organizations in the elections, or if we do not set up a proper mechanism in the opposite field with foreign activists, and our elections are overshadowed by foreign campaigns, the main function of the elections will be damaged.
Another view of damage to these functions is a general view of the main purpose and function of elections. If, in the opinion and actions of our rulers and managers, it appears that people are instrumental and organic, and we are not obligated to treat the people with originality, then the election will not work in its place.
This instrumental look is not specific to a faction and movement. It is possible that a current may come to work and want to fascinate the people by persuading the people and explaining them with false slogans. Whether it is like this or whether it is in a way that a stream expresses and implements this issue directly, there is no difference in practice and the result is almost the same. This is why, apart from the discussion of defining and realizing a quality playground, finding the agency of people in the Islamic society becomes relevant.
Question: What are the implications and causes of the danger of the election becoming formal and emptying out of its original philosophy despite its apparent implementation?
Aghajani: The election is due to the nature of the people and the opposition it has on the field of public opinion. Public opinion, which itself has many characteristics, makes it not tolerate formality and emptying much, and after a short period of time, with its reflections, it causes a change in the behavior of the voters and ultimately changes the situation.
For example, if we remove the competition from it, which is an important element in defining the meaning of elections according to the sociological point of view, this issue will face the reaction of public opinion. Or, if the mobilizing body cannot or does not have the motivation to cooperate with the government to form a lively election, this issue will lead to the election becoming empty and useless.
Therefore, the meaningfulness and non-emptiness of elections depends on the existence of such components, and whenever these elements are taken away from it, the elections are nullified. Of course, in order to find its true meaning, the institution of elections in Iran should think at higher levels and think about attracting and mobilizing, creating competition, giving agency and influencing more parts of the people, because this is in line with the philosophy of the Islamic Revolution, which is a system created with the majority of the people. is more consistent.
Question: What effects do the local conditions and requirements of societies like Islam in Iran have on the justification and formulation of the election institution?
Aghajani: Since the arrival of intellectual currents in Iran, we have always been in a conflict and political conflict in the arena and platform between the government and society. Regardless of the nature of these movements, some have made statements about their affiliation with international influence groups and have expressed evidence, this fight and conflict has been real and effective in the field of politics.
Of course, this influence has been accompanied by intensity and weakness in different periods and has had a serious effect on the formation of religious forces and Islamic movements, and has separated people from them and pushed some towards them, and has caused the formation of new ideological and political coalitions. .
This conflict continued during the second Pahlavi period, and with the height of the revolutionary struggles of the Iranian people, each of the active political groups tried to play a role in the defeat of the Pahlavi Taghout regime, and on the other hand, they also played a role in creating new political structures and institutions in the Islamic Republic. They had a foundation.
For example, the role and position of leftist groups in the sixties, as well as the position of liberal groups in the seventies, have been quite effective in shaping the electoral system.
Therefore, not only the totality of Islam has formed the field of competition and the institution of elections in that framework, but different readings of it have led to the formation of different sections of voters, distinct political groups and the revision of election rules and regulations.
Question: Conventional patterns of elections in the world are facing problems and weaknesses, and ideas have been proposed to go from radical democracy to deliberative democracy. What role can these ideas have for the weakness and problems of elections in the Islamic Republic, or should we go another way?
Aghajani: It was mentioned earlier that the system that gives meaning to the institution of elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran is different from other systems and other countries; As a result, we are faced with several election institutions. But this point does not mean that we cannot and should not use the achievements and teachings of other electoral institutions both in administration and in their repair and reform. The issue of participation and the issues surrounding the optimal functioning of the election institution in Iran should be taken into consideration at the cultural and social level more than the political level.
On the one hand, due to the construction of our political culture, which is a mixture of western concepts and patterns and traditional teachings and patterns, the type of dialogue, the type of interaction between the elites and the general public, and collective thinking or coexistence is much more humane and appropriate than pure western patterns. Therefore, for a society like ours, a national character who can be proven to be a national like Haj Qassem Soleimani, a style of management that has passed its test, such as urban management in periods, or a special camaraderie that emerges in difficult times, such as The behavior of the leader of the revolution during the Kermanshah earthquake is very important and effective for the society.
At the same time, we should have a plan to increase the coalition of hearts and create platforms for interaction, we should not ignore some specific points and actions; Dealing with the corruption of a gentleman can generate trust and social capital to a degree that long-term planning may not be as effective.
Another point is the discussion of plurality and multiplicity; It seems that this pluralism exists in our society in some way, but according to the issues and agendas in the country, this pluralism leads to unity and unity of action in many issues. It cannot be said that we have become a mass in the western sense, but it means that while preserving the relative national and religious values, some components and concerns of western humanity have also penetrated among us, and therefore we have more complexity in the perceptual dimension and more complexity in the field of exercising the will. we have been
Therefore, instead of insisting on ideas such as radical democracy, we should go towards a kind of firm efficiency that guarantees the strengthening of the national and religious values of the people and the realization of their material interests. An issue that will lead to the strengthening of Iran’s social power, which is the main goal of the Iranian election institution.
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