A Study of the Differences in Economic Factors, Political Competition and Foreign Intervention in the 1997 and 2009 Presidential Elections


دانشگاه یاسوج ، دانشکده ادبیات و علوم انسانی، گروه علوم اجتماعی


One area of human activity that requires decision-making and selection is political participation. This is a voluntary activity through which members of a community participate in the affairs of their neighborhoods, towns and villages and directly and indirectly contribute to shaping their social and political life. Voting is the most effective and most practical means for citizens to give and apply their opinions and ideas in the management of public and social affairs. Among all elections held in Iran, the presidential election of 2009, though was held according to previous elections, the electoral behavior of people brought many problems. In this period, some of the people came to streets to protest election results and protests turned into violent acts, causing confrontations among the main political figures, scholars, academics, and many state agencies. Thus, the main question of this research is that why in the similar presidential election of 1997, the electoral behavior was non- violent but in 2009 it became violent. (Similarity of the two elections was in this respect that in both 1997and 2009, elections were held in a competitive spirit and the main competition revolved around two candidates).

Materials and Methods
The research method is a causal - comparative survey in which two presidential elections in 1997 and 2009 are compared. Research population includes Shiraz administrative elites who have been employed for a period of at least 20 years and have experienced at least one period of managerial position at various levels of the organization in which they have been working. Because of the lack of formal data on the population, using exploratory study, the population was estimated to be around 250 individuals, of whom 149 cases were selected to enter our sample size, using Krejcie and Morgan’s sampling table and random multi-stage sampling method. The measurement tool is a researcher-made questionnaire using 5-point likert scale, including 30 items in the frame of three dimensions including economic (10 items), political completion (10 items) and foreign intervention (10 items). Validity of the scale was measured using content validity and the reliability was measured using Cronbach's Alpha coefficient.

Discussion of Results and Conclusions
In total, 482 respondents including 128 (85.3%) males and 21 (14%) females answered our questionnaire. In this study, the age of respondents was between 40 to 60 years old and their average was 45.5 years. Educational level of the respondents was as follows: 17 (11.3%) diploma, 24 (16%) above diploma, 80 (53.3%) bachelor, and 25 (16.7%) master degree and 3 (2%) PhD. Based on descriptive results of the study, the mean score for the importance of economic factors is 30.5 for 1997 election and 39.6 for 2009 election. The mean score for the importance of political competition is 32.4 for 1997 election and 36.5 for 2009 election. And finally the mean score for foreign intervention is 28.9 for 1997 election, and 37.8 for 2009 election. For investigation of the mean difference between two elections, independent samples t test was used: the mean of importance of economic factors in 2009 election is more than 1997 election and this difference is statistically significant. The mean of importance of political competition in 2009 election is more than 1997 election and this difference is statistically significant. Finally, the mean of foreign intervention in 2009 election is more than 1997 election and this difference is statistically significant.

The findings of this research shows that, there is a significant difference between economic factors, political competition and foreign intervention in the 1997 and 2009 presidential elections in Iran. Based on the findings, the importance of political competition has been significantly more in 2009 election than in 1997 election. This finding is theoretically consistent with research results of Nie & Gold (2010) and also may be explained by rational choice theory. The findings also showed that the importance of economic factors in 2009 election is more than 1997 election. These results is consistent with research findings of Zibakalam & Colleagues (2010), Kamal (2003), Atarzadeh and Tavassoli (2010) and League (2005). Finally, on the basis of research findings, foreign intervention has been significantly more in 2009 election in comparison with 1997 election. This research finding is justified according to the information and communication technology development in the past two decades, which has led to the increase of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Iran.