Politics

Iran begins presidential election runoff amid low turnout 

The Islamic Republic’s supreme chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the ultimate say in all state issues, forged his poll when the polls opened at 08:00 am (0430 GMT), state TV confirmed.

“We are starting the second round of the 14th presidential election to choose the future president from among the two candidates across 58,638 polling stations in the country and all stations abroad,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi mentioned, in line with state TV.

The vote comes in opposition to the backdrop of heightened regional tensions over the conflict in Gaza, Iran’s dispute with the West over its nuclear programme and widespread discontent on the state of the nation’s sanctions-hit economic system.

In final week’s first spherical, Pezeshkian, who was the one reformist permitted to face, gained the most important variety of ballots, round 42 per cent, whereas the previous nuclear negotiator Jalili got here in second place with 39 per cent, in line with figures from Iran’s elections authority.

Only 40 per cent of Iran’s 61 million eligible voters forged their poll — the bottom turnout in any presidential election for the reason that 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On Wednesday, Khamenei known as for a better turnout within the runoff.

“The second round of the presidential election is very important,” he mentioned in a video carried by state TV.

Low turnout

He mentioned participation was “not as expected” within the first spherical however that it was not an act “against the system.”

Last week’s vote noticed the conservative parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf are available third place with 13.8 per cent, whereas cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi garnered lower than one per cent.

Iran’s presidential election was initially scheduled for 2025 however was introduced ahead by the loss of life of ultraconservative president Raisi in a May helicopter crash.

The rival candidates within the runoff have held two debates the place they mentioned Iran’s financial woes, worldwide relations, the low voter turnout and web restrictions.

Pezeshkian is a 69-year-old coronary heart surgeon who has represented the northwestern metropolis of Tabriz in parliament since 2008.

He has earned the assist of Iran’s major reformist coalition, with former reformist presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hassan Rouhani declaring their backing for his bid.

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Jalili, 58, rallied a considerable base of hardline supporters and acquired backing from Ghalibaf and two different ultraconservative candidates who dropped out of the race earlier than the primary spherical.

In one latest debate, the rivals expressed dismay over turnout within the first spherical.

On Tuesday, Pezeshkian mentioned folks have been “fed up with their living conditions … and dissatisfied with the government’s management of affairs.”

Ali, a 24-year-old college scholar who requested that solely his first title be used, mentioned the higher selection is Pezeshkian, whom he believes would work on “opening the country to the rest of the world.”

Pezeshkian has known as for “constructive relations” with Washington and European international locations to “get Iran out of its isolation”.

Jalili, identified for his uncompromising anti-West place, has insisted that Tehran doesn’t want the 2015 nuclear cope with the United States and different world powers to make progress.

The deal — which Jalili mentioned violated all Iran’s “red lines” by permitting inspections of nuclear websites — had imposed curbs on Iran’s nuclear exercise in return for sanctions reduction.

The accord has been hanging by a thread since 2018 when the US withdrew from it.

At a marketing campaign occasion late Wednesday, 40-year-old Maryam Naroui mentioned she believed Jalili was “the best option for the country’s security”.

Jalili has held a number of senior positions within the Islamic Republic, together with in Khamenei’s workplace within the early 2000s.

He is at the moment one in all Khamenei’s representatives within the Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s highest safety physique.

Regardless of the outcome, Iran’s subsequent president can be in command of making use of state coverage outlined by the supreme chief, who wields final authority within the nation.

AFP

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