5. Rig an election where 80% of people turned out to vote
The turn out at the recent election in Iran was the largest in the country’s history.
This shows that the people were very committed to this particular election – and since the establishment has to give their blessing to candidates that are running, it might have been wise to just leave this one alone.
4. Give the election by a huge margin to an unpopular candidate – subtlety is the key
If you’re going to rig an election – any election – remember to do it by a believable margin. The Iranian government announced that Ahmadinejad polled over sixty percent of the vote. This is practically impossible to achieve in any context where any sort of diversity of opinion exists – if rigging an election, it’s best to be subtle and give the winning candidate a more believable vote.
3. Don’t announce the results until you count the votes
This is just a matter of good common sense or else people start to cut corners and then something like this happens.
This screen shot shows voting numbers being announced on Iranian television, and actually shows one of the candidates losing some 100 000 votes during the vote count.
2. When the people get angry tell them it’s just like a soccer game
Now this is just putting ideas into people’s heads. Especially when the analogy seems to be so ironic – dodgy referees anyone? But on a serious point any good dictator – especially one in a country where soccer is more like a second religion than a sport – should better than to mix politics with ‘the beautiful game’ or else you have it bite you in the ass. It certainly did in this case where some of the Iranian football team in a match that was aired on Iranian state owned television wore green wrist bands to support the pro-Mousavi protests.
1. If you have veto power, don’t let someone run that has links to the institution and will be able to find proof the election was rigged
Mousavi was Iran’s Prime Minister back in the 1980s. He then decided to run off and design buildings and be an artist for the last twenty years. Since he once held such political office he still had many people loyal to him in the establishment who would have no qualms telling him that the votes were dodgy. The lesson here is that, if you get to pick which guy runs, don’t let the ones with any power do anything or else they’ll be able to find out if you do anything dodgy.
Remember, rigging an election is all about being able to hide your tracks.