Polls open in Iran's presidential runoff

  05 July 2024    Read: 784
Polls open in Iran

Polls opened across Iran early Friday for the first presidential runoff vote in over 19 years as reformists look to regain power, AzVision.az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

Two candidates -- Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist lawmaker and former health minister, and Saeed Jalili, a conservative former lead nuclear negotiator and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council -- are vying for the presidency.

Pezeshkian and Jalili emerged as the frontrunners in the June 28 snap presidential election but fell short of securing the 50% plus one vote required for an outright win.

Polling stations across the country opened to voters Friday at 8 a.m. local time (0430GMT). Voting will continue until 6 p.m. local time (1430GMT), according to the law.

The stipulated 10-hour voting process is likely to be extended by the Interior Ministry, which manages the election, to accommodate more voters.

In the June 28 snap presidential election, voting was extended thrice and ended at midnight, but voter turnout was still the lowest since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, at 40%.

Around 61 million people are eligible to vote in this year's presidential election, according to official data. In the 2021 election, 59.3 million people were eligible to vote.

Around 10 million Iranians living overseas are also eligible to cast their ballots in Friday's snap election at 344 designated polling stations set up in various countries.

In the June 28 election, 97,967 votes were cast overseas, according to election headquarters. The Canadian government, however, didn't allow polling stations.

A total of 58,640 polling stations will facilitate the voting process in the runoff election inside Iran, similar to the previous round, with more than 6,000 of them in the capital Tehran alone.

Counting of ballots will start immediately after the voting lines close, and the Interior Ministry will announce the results in phases until the final results are announced Saturday morning.

Most polls, including one by the country's leading polling agency, ahead of the runoff election indicated that Pezeshkian holds an edge over his conservative opponent.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in remarks Wednesday, urged higher participation in the runoff vote, describing voter turnout as the "backbone" of the Islamic Republic.

According to poll experts, the 60% of voters who didn't participate in the June 28 election could prove decisive in determining the final outcome if they come out to vote.



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