Member of the Central Council of National Trust Party Mohammadjavad Haqshenas said in an interview with Mosalas Online that a number of factors were involved in the disagreements among the Principalists.
Q: Why do you think the Principalists did not reach consensus in the 9th parliamentary and 11th presidential elections?
A: There are a number of reasons. First, there has grown some gap in the Principalist discourse and there is no single discourse under the name. In a way, the different discourses that have grown among Principalists have fundamental differences with the main one. Phenomena such as the Resistance Front formed around Mesbah Yazdi and followed by figures such as Rouhollah Hosseinian, Qasem Ravanbakhsh, and Hamid Rasaei have formed discourses which were formerly subject to the contemporary Principalist discourse. But today it seems that they would like to show an independent identity with independent definition.
Q: What do you think was the role of Ayatollahs Mahdavi Kani and Yazdi?
A: I think that they were not united in these elections. These days Ayatollah Yazdi says that they have had serious disagreements on endorsing a candidate in the Society of Teachers, which is one of the old clerical organizations. The Society of Teachers has had 35 members, but their sessions were held with only 19. In the end one of the candidates had 8 and the other 5 votes. This shows that even in a prestigious organization such as this there is much incongruity between what society expects of it and what goes on in reality.
Q: Did Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi play any role in the disagreements between Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani and Ayatollah Yazdi?
A: I believe that Mr. Mesbah expects the existing organizations to strictly follow him. Mr. Mesbah considers his position to other organizations as one of guidance, therefore he will not get involved in organizational work where he would pursue agreements and outcome.
Q: Would Principalists have reached consensus if Ayatollahs Yazdi and Mahdavi Kani had endorsed a certain candidate?
A: No. considering the social status of the Principalists, even if all of these figures endorsed one candidate nothing more than what has come today would have happens.
Q: Why not?
A: I see his presence positive. For his record and his staying in the course of the campaigns and his independence he proved that one can hope for traces of principalism within the current.
Q: You say that Mr. Velayati’s insistence showed his independence. But in the election days a news website claimed that Mr. Hashemi in a phone call obliged him not to step down so that things would go somehow in favor of Rouhani. Do you agree with that?
A: Look, there were two criteria. Mr. Qalibaf would bring up the polls, but Velayati would see the rule of the Two Societies as the basis. That is why they couldn’t reach an agreement.”
Q: do you think that his votes would have gone into Velayati’s box if Qalibaf had stepped down?
A: I believe that if all candidates had resigned and one of these two had remained still nothing would have happened, because the other side’s percentage of votes is a good indicator of their status. Of course for Mr. Velayati to have resigned in favor of Qalibaf would not have meant that his votes would have gone to Qalibaf. Voters think for themselves. They do not follow the prescriptions of others. In fact if Velayati had resigned, his votes would have gone to Rouhani, Rezaei, and Qalibaf. That is because Qalibaf’s votes were not much different form Velayati’s in number.
Q: So this means that if Velayati had resigned Principalists would still have reached no consensus.
A: No, such a consensus with so much effect on the election would not have occurred.