Iran's president on track for poll victory

Iran's president on track for poll victory

Iran's president on track for poll victory

The preliminary vote count shows that Iran's incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is taking the lead in the presidential race so far, an Iranian election official announced in the state IRIB TV live broadcast. The average Iranian has yet to see the benefits of the deal, which saw Iran limit its contested nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.

Earlier, the Interior Ministry reported that over 40 million ballots were cast by Iranians on Friday, indicating a turnout of 70 percent.

Meanwhile the capital city of Tehran, which has an effective role in results, is dominated by Rouhani supporters, according to the agency's estimates.

Abadpour said he meant to cast his vote based upon which candidate won the support of friends and family living in Iran.

In Iran, election officials had to extend voting hours at least three times to accommodate the surge of voters.

That, and general disaffection, could cost Mr Rouhani vital votes. Rouhani had promised during the campaign to further undo worldwide sanctions in a second term, Kenyon says. "Anyone who is elected must be helped from tomorrow with unity, happiness and joy".

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But Rouhani hashistory and hope on his side. No incumbent president has failed to win re-election since 1981, when Khamenei himself became president. But this time the outcome might be much closer, as other conservative rivals have backed out and thrown their support behind Raisi.

Raisi promised more focus on the poor and attacked the government as corrupt and elitist. They point out that his main opponent, "the keeper of the sacred tomb of Imam Reza in Mashhad", representative of principalists (conservatives) Ibrahim Raisi has a higher chance to win in small towns and villages.

Mr Rouhani, 68, promised a moderate vision and an outward-looking Iran, and tied his success to the success of the nuclear deal brokered between Iran, the United States and other countries in 2015.

After voting, Raisi told journalists that all should "completely surrender to the result of the election".

Presidential election is also being held in 102 countries.

Two candidates had announced pulling out from the race: Tehran's hardline mayor, Mohammed Baqer Ghalibaf, who pledged his support for Raisi and Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a reformist supporting Rouhani.

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Large number of Iranians lined up in the polling stations on Friday to decide on the presidential seat for the next four years. Of a total of 25,966,799 ballots that have been count, more than 784,000 (3.02 percent) have been declared spoilt votes.

For ordinary Iranians, the election presented a stark choice between competing visions of the country. He had attributed his success to the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran, the U.S. and other countries.

Voting has begun in Iran's presidential election.

Jonah Hull of Al Jazeerareported from Tehran that large crowd numbers at the polls "would tend to favor the moderate reformist side of President Rouhani, and anything less than 60% would spell trouble for him". President Donald Trump has repeatedly described it as "one of the worst deals ever signed", although his administration re-authorized waivers from sanctions this week. Khamenei has the final say on all matter of foreign and domestic policy.

Ultimately, it is the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who holds sway over Iran's foreign policy. That includes Rouhani openly criticizing hardliners and Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force now involved in the war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

That hasn't stopped those at Rouhani rallies from shouting for the release of the house-arrested leaders of the 2009 Green Movement.

If no candidate manages to secure over 50 per cent of the votes, a runoff will take place on May 26.

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Voters fill in their ballots while voting for the presidential and municipal councils election at a polling station in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 19, 2017.

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