Millions of Iranians voted late into the night Friday to decide whether incumbent President Hassan Rouhani deserves another four years in office.
This is the Islamic Republic’s first presidential election since the 2015 nuclear accord with the United States. It drew surprisingly large numbers of voters to polling stations, with some reporting waiting in line for hours to cast their votes. The AP is reporting that “Election officials extended voting hours at least three times at the more than 63,000 polling places to accommodate the crowds.” Voters who spoke to The Associated Press from the cities of Bandar Abbas, Hamadan, Isfahan, Rashat, Shiraz, and Tabriz also described crowded polling places. The turnout has spooked Raisi’s camp, who filed a complaint to authorities over what they called “election violations” even before the polls closed, according to a report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Iranians overseas also had a chance to vote in over 300 locations, including 55 in the U.S., where more than 1 million Iranians live. Iranian authorities say they believe the vote will exceed a 70 percent turnout.
Out of the four candidates two are getting the most votes, incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and hard-line law professor and former prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani’s supporters are also hoping he can make better progress on improving the economy, a key issue on the minds of the country’s 56 million eligible voters. The 56-year-old Raisi, who heads an influential religious charitable foundation with vast business holdings. His populist posture, anti-corruption rhetoric, and get-tough reputation – bolstered by his alleged role condemning inmates to death during Iran’s 1988 mass execution of thousands of political prisoners attracted appeal for conservative rural and working-class voters. Raisi has also won the support of two major clerical bodies and promised to boost welfare payments to the poor.
Iran’s political system combines conservative clerical oversight and state control over large parts of the economy with tightly regulated but still hotly contested elections for key government posts.
Update: Incumbent President Rouhani has won the election, below is the final numbers of Fridays Iranian Presidential Election Results:
Sources: Associated Press
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