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Iran polls: Rouhani leads initial count

 

Prime News, International, Tehran:- Iran’s incumbent President Hassan Rouhani has a commanding 58 per cent lead over his rivals in an initial and partial count of votes in the election, according to official figures announced this morning.

Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi told journalists in a televised news conference that more than 40 million Iranians voted in Friday’s election. That puts turnout above 70 per cent.

Election officials repeatedly extended voting hours until midnight to accommodate long lines of voters, some of whom said they waited hours to cast their ballots.

Friday’s vote was largely a referendum on Rouhani’s more moderate political policies, which paved the way for the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that won Iran relief from some sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

The 68-year-old has come to embody more liberal and reform-minded Iranians’ hopes for greater political freedom at home and better relations with the outside world.

Preliminary vote tallies have him ahead with 14.6 million votes, out of 25.1 million counted so far.

His nearest challenger is hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi, with 10.1 million votes.

–(NGB, Inputs: AP)

 

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