Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Iran's Rouhani wins 2nd term by a wide margin

Iran's Rouhani wins 2nd term by a wide margin

Ali Asghar Ahmadi, the head of the Election Committee of Iran's Interior Ministry, who announced the nearly final results, also said that Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli would announce the final results of the election at 2:00 p.m. Iran time (0930 GMT) on Saturday.

"A number of years have passed (since the 2009 protests) and the country is demonstrating a high level of stability - this gives the system confidence, which means more room for change", Izadi said.

Iranian newspapers praised the turnout, carrying headlines like "a historical victory for Iranians". Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi, a vocal Rouhani supporter, voted in Cannes, France where he was attending the film festival.

On Wednesday, the USA state department said it was adding to them. Rouhani has been seen as a reformer in Iran's largely conservative society, and embraced modest efforts to reach out to the rest of the world in his first term.

"It's over, Rouhani is the victor", the source said. More than 40 million Iranians are believed to have voted, putting turnout at over 70 percent. High turnout appeared to have favored Rouhani, whose backers' main concern had been apathy among reformist-leaning voters disappointed with the slow pace of change. He had won more than three times as many votes as his closest challenger.

Mr Raisi, who won 57% of the vote, was tipped in Iranian media as a potential successor for the 77-year-old supreme leader who has been in power since 1989. The election will go to a runoff if no candidate wins more than 50% of votes cast.

For ordinary Iranians, the election presents a stark choice between competing visions of the country.

"Democracy in Iran is allowed to bloom only a few days every four years, while autocracy is evergreen".

If the moderate Rouhani maintains his lead, he will have defeated the influential cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative hardliner who views the West with suspicion and has the backing of Iran's ruling clergy.

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For many in Iran, especially in affluent areas of the capital, Tehran, Rouhani has provided a glimpse of what many have long desired - engagement with the outside world, without the types of banking and visa restrictions, as well as economic sanctions - that left them feeling so isolated.

That includes Rouhani openly criticizing hard-liners and Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force now involved in the war in Syria and the fight against Islamic State militants in neighboring Iraq.

Election officials said the extensions to voting hours were due to "requests" and the "enthusiastic participation of people".

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi). 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. More ballot sheets were subsequently sent out, the agency reported.

Four candidates remain in the race. Both deny the other's accusations.

Rouhani had urged the Guards not to meddle in the vote, a warning that reflects the political tension.

"The next president should not be someone who makes the enemies happy when he is elected", said Kermani, who is an adviser to Khamenei. "I waited in the line for five hours to cast my vote".

Rouhani inherited their voters, but he's been unable or unwilling to get them released. Millions of Iranians voted late. He pledged to increase social security protection, raise welfare and housing benefits, and curb unemployment while touring rural regions.

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