Voting ends in Iran’s presidential runoff

Tehran, July 6 (UNI) Voting for Iran’s presidential runoff came to an end at midnight Friday after 16 straight hours, said Spokesman of Iran’s Election Headquarters Mohsen Eslami.

He made the remarks in a live interview with Iran’s state-run IRIB TV, stressing that although the polling stations’ doors were closed, those responsible had to let all the voters who had come before the end of the voting process and were waiting for their turns, cast their ballots.

The counting process would start at the stations immediately after the voting ended, Eslami added.

In an address to reporters in the Iranian capital Tehran earlier in the day, Iran’s Interim President Mohammad Mokhber said the results would be announced by Saturday morning.

The voting began at 8:00 a.m. Friday local time (0430 GMT) at nearly 59,000 polling stations across the country and abroad, with two candidates, former health minister Masoud Pezeshkian and Saeed Jalili, the former chief negotiator in the nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers, vying for the top position at the country’s executive branch.

Pezeshkian and Jalili secured over 42 percent and 38 percent of the votes, respectively, in the first round on June 28.

The voting was initially scheduled to end at 6:00 p.m. local time but was extended three times, with each extension lasting for two hours.

The candidate with the highest number of votes at the end of the runoff will be the next Iranian president.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei cast his ballot at a polling station in Tehran immediately after the voting began and made a brief speech.

“Today is a good day; the day of our beloved people’s presence, participation, and becoming active in the election, which is an important political affair of the country,” said Khamenei.

Field estimates showed that the turnout in the runoff surpassed the figure in the first round, which stood at 40 percent, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Over 61 million people were eligible to vote in the election, according to Iranian authorities. More than 24 million participated in the first round.

Iran’s 14th presidential election, initially set for 2025, was rescheduled following the unexpected death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash on May 19.

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