A hardline Judge who is subject to United States sanctions may likely become the winner of the Iran Presidential election.
Millions of Iranians voted on Friday after Senior officials appealed for a large turnout in the election widely seen as a referendum on their handling of the economy, including rising prices and unemployment and a collapse in the value of its currency.
Judiciary head; Ebrahim Raisi, the front-runner in the contest; Ebrahim Raisi who spoke after casting his ballot said,
“Our people’s grievances over shortcomings are real, but if it is the reason for not participating, then it is wrong.”
While state television showed long queues at polling stations in several cities, the semi-official Fars news agency reported 22 million or 37% of voters had cast ballots by 7:30 p.m. (1500 GMT), citing its own reporter. The interior ministry said it could not confirm turnout figures.
State television said voting officially ended at 1930 GMT. However, the interior ministry said voting had been extended for two hours in some polling stations across the country to allow latecomers to cast ballots.
The final results are expected to be announced by mid-day on Saturday. After voting in the capital Tehran, Supreme Leader; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians follow suit, saying “each vote counts … come and vote and choose your president”.
Raisi, 60, is backed by security hawks in his bid to succeed Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist prevented under the constitution from serving a third four-year term in the post, which runs the government day-to-day and reports to Khamenei.
Supported by the powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, Raisi, a close Khamenei ally who vows to fight corruption, is under U.S. sanctions for alleged involvement in executions of political prisoners decades ago.
Reuters got some Voters reactions and this is what they had to say:
Maryam, 52, a hairdresser in Karaj near Tehran, said she would not vote because “I have lost confidence in the system.”
“Every time I voted in the past, I had hope that my living standard would improve. But I lost hope when I saw the highest official in the country wasn’t brave enough to resign when he couldn’t make things better,” she said, referring to Rouhani.
Asked which candidate he preferred, Mohammad, 32, at a polling station in a hamlet in southern Iran, replied: “To be honest none of them, but our representative in parliament says we should vote for Raisi so that everything will improve.”
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“My vote is a big NO to the Islamic Republic,” said Farzaneh, 58, from the central city of Yazd, referring to the country’s system of clerical rule. She said contrary to what state TV reported, “the polling stations are almost empty here”.
Mohammad, 40, an engineer, said he would not vote because “the results are known beforehand and more important if Mr. Raisi was serious about tackling corruption he should have done so by now”.
More than 59 million Iranians can vote. While hundreds of Iranians, including relatives of dissidents killed since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and political prisoners, have called for an election boycott, the establishment’s religiously devout core supporters are expected to vote for Raisi.
A win for Raisi would confirm the political demise of pragmatist politicians like Rouhani, weakened by the U.S. decision to quit the nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions in a move that stifled rapprochement with the West.
Do you think the US could forgive Raisi his offenses?