An Examination of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Electoral Discourse
This study examines the changes in the electoral discourse of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections of 2005, 2009 and 2017. Grounded theory and semiotic theory were adopted to construct concepts from code and sign clusters. The results reveal striking changes in the concepts that form the main axis of the three examined campaigns. In 2005, Ahmadinejad underlined such dualities as the poor and the rich on one hand and the Islamic revolutionary values and distorted antirevolutionary ones on the other. In 2009, however, his rhetoric not only became more aggressive against his rivals but also included strikingly nationalist elements. The studies visuals of his 2009 campaign reveal that he emphasized numerous secular nationalist values rather than Islamic revolutionary ideals. Furthermore, he and his teams continued the same discursive pattern in 2017 and repeatedly used such secular sources of political legitimation as the will of the people and the myths from the ancient Iranian history.