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Monday, July 15, 2024

Iranians vote in second round of presidential election

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Friday kicked off the second round of the Iranian presidential election by casting his own ballot.

He urged the nation to participate in the vote, after a first round in which nearly 60 percent of eligible voters did not participate.

“God willing, we will have a president tomorrow,” Khamenei said in the capital, Tehran.

Friday’s runoff will pit reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian against hardliner Saeed Jalili after last week’s vote produced no clear winner.

Some 61 million people were eligible to vote for a successor to President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash in May.

Polling stations will close at 6 p.m. (1430 GMT), although authorities may allow them to remain open later. The first results are expected on Saturday.

Voter turnout in last week’s election hit a record low, with none of the candidates winning an outright majority.

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Pezeshkian received around 42.5 percent of the votes and Jalili 38.7 percent. Two other candidates participated in the first round.

The election comes amid a severe economic crisis and tensions with the West and regional powers in the Middle East.

However, frustration among the public, especially among the younger population, with the enforcement of state authority is increasing.

Many Iranians, especially young people, have lost faith in the possibility of seeing significant political change in their country.

The death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in autumn 2022 sparked nationwide protests against the strict Islamic system of government, but the protests were suppressed with harsh punishments for demonstrators.

READ ALSO: Iran’s air defenses fire at flying objects as Israel retaliates

The president is number two in Iran’s power structure, as Khamenei is the head of state and has the final say on all strategic matters. He is also the commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces.

(dpa/NAN)

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