Counting underway in Iran Presidential election

Counting underway in Iran Presidential election

Ali Asghar Ahmad, the head of the election committee, had told Iranian state TV in the morning that almost 26 million votes of the total 40 million votes cast on Friday have been counted, with Rouhani getting 14.6 million votes and his closest rival, Ebrahim Raisi, obtaining 10.1 million votes.

Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate cleric who spearheaded a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, has framed the election as a choice between greater civil liberties and "extremism".

By evening, 20 million voters had cast ballots out of 56 million who were eligible, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, with many voters still reportedly waiting in line. Rouhani favors engaging in dialog with the West; he secured the nuclear deal, lifting sanctions that helped stabilize the economy.

Rouhani, known for decades as a mild-mannered member of the establishment, campaigned as an ardent reformist to stir up the passions of young, urban voters yearning for change.

If no one of the candidates wins more than 50 percent of votes cast, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff election on May 26.

Election officials said the extensions to voting hours were due to "requests" and the "enthusiastic participation of people". Polls are now expected to close at 10 p.m.

Rouhani's chief of staff Hamid Aboutalebi tweeted that Rouhani had won 60 percent of the vote. "He kept the shadow of war far from our country".

Rouhani has made a campaign promise to work toward the removal of "all the remaining (US) sanctions" hampering economic ties with Europe and Asia.

"The next president should not be someone who makes the enemies happy when he is elected", said Kermani, who is an adviser to Khamenei. Also, no incumbent president has failed to win reelection since 1981.

That doesn't mean it will be easy, however.

"I cast my vote already - I voted for Raisi because he is a follower of Imam Khamenei". Raisi has even been discussed as a possible successor to him, though Khamenei has stopped short of endorsing anyone.

GOP to send Dayton second round of budget bills
The bill would overhaul how the state licenses teachers, allowing more professionals to teach in classrooms. Gazelka said the new budget will include pay raises for legislators, something Daudt said he did not want.

Raisi promised more focus on the poor and attacked the government as corrupt and elitist. 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 - are likely to energize conservative rural and working-class voters.

"Instead of using the capable hands of our youth to resolve problems, they are putting our economy in the hands of foreigners", Raisi said at a final rally in the city of Mashhad on Wednesday.

Rouhani was a key architect of the 2015 nuclear deal with the USA, the European Union and other partners.

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

"I believe that the presidential election is very important".

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.

Iranians families casted their votes at Iranian Consulate from 8am to 6pm.

Here are three key things to watch as Iranians queue up to determine the future of their country - and its place in the world.

US President Donald Trump opposes the deal, which eased sanctions on the Middle Eastern country, but his White House renewed it earlier this week.

Iranians living in Lahore used their right to vote and casted votes in 12th Iranian presidential a contest between President Hassan Rouhani with Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi.

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