Where did Rouhani election victory come from - and what does it mean for Iran?


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The Independent Online

The one moderate candidate in a pack of fundamentalists won the presidential election today in Iran, as Hassan Rouhani took victory over five other hopefuls. Crowds flooded the streets of Tehran this afternoon wearing both purple - the colour of Mr Rouhani's campaign - and green - the symbol of 2009's brutally-quashed reformist movement. Here's how media outlets responded to the shock result:

Fraser Nelson in The Spectator said:

The victory of Hassan Rouhani has stunned pundits, and it seems even Iranians can’t quite believe it. He is a moderate (if not, quite, a reformer) who defeated five conservatives. His victory was massive – 51 per cent. (Fraser Nelson)

The Washington Post reported the victory is "already being viewed as a repudiation of not only the Ahmadinejad years but also the hold that conservatives have maintained over Iranian politics since 2005."

So what did it stem from? Ray Takeyh, a former state department adviser, said:

"This was supposed to be a well-regulated, well-crafted election, and then the wheels came off.

"It appears that the leadership miscalculated Rouhani’s appeal, and also miscalculated the ineptness of its preferred candidates and the impact of the divisions among the conservative coalition."

Reuters sees the Rouhani landslide as a mandate for change:

"Victory will be followed by the colossal challenge of putting Iran back on its feet, repairing the damage done by eight years of growing mistrust between Tehran and the West."

But, they warn, since Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei still decides state policy, there are limits to what Mr Rouhani can achieve.