Iran: Rouhani leads initial count; over 70 per cent turnout

Iran: Rouhani leads initial count; over 70 per cent turnout

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

State television showed lengthy queues forming outside polling stations in several cities and said 56 million Iranians out of the more than 80-million-strong population were eligible to vote. CNN journalists in Tehran reported seeing long lines as voters apparently heeded calls for a big turnout.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and four candidates for presidency have already casted their ballots in elections.

This election is important for the internal political balance of power leading up to the inevitable day when Iran must choose its next Supreme Leader.

Suzanne Maloney, of the Washington research group the Brookings Institute, said the vote was the most important election Iran had faced in many years.

Iranian media have discussed Raisi as a potential future successor to Khamenei, who turns 78 in July.

Rouhani, meanwhile, is essentially running for re-election as an outsider, and is backed by Iran's reformist camp. The deal saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions. "I will dedicate all my abilities to support Rouhani", Jahangiri said in a statement. We have to prove that we are here, we support what we want. "Now my colleagues can travel to France and the U.S.", she said.

He said 40 million votes had been cast, indicating a turnout of about 70 percent, roughly similar to the showing in 2013.

With the entry of the savage terror outfit, the ISIS, the situation has become even more complex in a theatre of war, where it was anyway hard to sift through who qualified as a "rebel" and who belonged to terror outfits like Al Qaeda, since both the rebels and the Al Qaeda sought to overthrow Bashar al Assad's regime.

"They have the maturity to understand that the solution to their country's predicaments are in competent management of the economy and moderation in global relations", Vaez told AFP.

"We had a bet among friends, and I said Raisi would win and I think that encouraged a few of my friends who might not have voted to come out and vote".

Iranians vote Friday for the next president of the Islamic Republic, but how does that elected leader fit into the country's clerically managed government that approves candidates ultimately overseen by its supreme leader?

But Rouhani won't necessarily benefit. "President Rouhani tried to give more freedom, this is the hope for us to vote".

First results were not expected until Saturday. Failure to secure a majority today would send the two top vote-getters into a runoff a week later. Though he vowed on the campaign trail to tear it up, for now President Donald Trump has kept the nuclear deal in place. Debates have largely centered on this issue.

Polls open in Iran for presidential and city council elections on Friday morning. Since the deal went into effect, Iran has doubled its oil exports and inked multi-billion-dollar aircraft deals with Boeing and Airbus.

With Donald Trump in the White House, a great sense of unpredictability has crept over what the United States will do diplomatically during his term.

The election is seen by many as a verdict on Rouhani's policy of opening up Iran to the world and his efforts to rebuild its stagnant economy. There has also been a rise in the unemployment rate. But since the Iranian government counts anyone who works just one hour a week as employed, according to Hamed Mousavi of Tehran University, the true overall number is likely well over 20%.

"The Iranian nation has enemies". "The numbers are looking better. but the voters aren't feeling it".



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