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Iran counts votes after big turnout in presidential election

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Iran counts votes after big turnout in presidential election

By Parisa Hafezi and Babak Dehghanpisheh

 

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Millions of Iranians have voted in the country's unexpectedly tight election which pits President Hassan Rouhani, who wants to normalise ties with the West, against a hardline judge who says he has already gone too far. Kate King reports.

 

DUBAI/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Vote counting began in Iran on Saturday after a high turnout in an unexpectedly tight presidential election pitting President Hassan Rouhani, who wants to normalise ties with the West, against a hardline judge who says he has already gone too far.

 

More than 40 million votes were cast, the interior ministry said, indicating a turnout of about 70 percent in Friday's vote, roughly similar to the showing in 2013 elections when Rouhani swept into office in a landslide victory.

 

(For a graphic on Iran's presidential election, click http://reut.rs/2rmyLFC)

 

Voting was extended by six hours because many people were still waiting in line. Iranian newspapers praised the turnout, carrying headlines like "a historical victory for Iranians".

 

Pro-reform news websites said Rouhani was the victor. They offered no evidence, but the big turnout could favour Rouhani, whose backers' main worry has been apathy among reformist-leaning voters disappointed with the slow pace of change.

 

Rouhani, 68, who took office promising to open Iran to the world and give its citizens more freedom at home, faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, a protege of supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

 

The election is important "for Iran's future role in the region and the world", Rouhani, who struck a deal with world powers two years ago to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions, said after voting.

 

Raisi, 56, has accused Rouhani of mismanaging the economy and has travelled to poor areas, speaking at rallies pledging more welfare benefits and jobs.

 

He is believed to have the backing of the powerful Revolutionary Guards security force, as well as the tacit support of Khamenei, whose powers outrank those of the elected president but who normally steers clear of day-to-day politics.

 

"I respect the outcome of the vote of the people and the result will be respected by me and all the people," Raisi said after voting, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

 

However, Raisi later appeared at the Ministry of Interior in Tehran on Friday and complained of a shortage of ballot sheets at many polling stations, according to Fars. More ballot sheets were subsequently sent out, the agency reported. 

 

In the last election, Rouhani won more than three times as many votes as his closest challenger. But this time the outcome might be much closer, as other conservative rivals have backed out and thrown their support behind Raisi.

 

The Guards and other hardliners hope that a win for Raisi will give them an opportunity to safeguard economic and political power they see as jeopardised by the lifting of sanctions and opening of the country to foreign investment.

 

During weeks of campaigning, the two main candidates exchanged accusations of corruption and brutality in unprecedentedly hostile television debates. Both deny the other's accusations.

 

Rouhani has urged the Guards not to meddle in the vote, a warning that reflects the political tension. Suspicions that the Guards and the Basij militia under their control falsified voting results in favour of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to eight months of nationwide protests in 2009, which were violently suppressed.

 

STARK CHOICE

 

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

 

Rouhani, known for decades as a mild-mannered establishment insider rather than a gung-ho reformer, has taken on the mantle of the reform camp in recent weeks, with fiery campaign speeches that attacked the human rights records of his opponents.

 

"I voted for Rouhani to prevent Raisi's victory. I don't want a hardliner to be my president," said Ziba Ghomeyshi in Tehran. "I waited in the line for five hours to cast my vote."

 

Many pro-reform voters are still lukewarm Rouhani supporters, disappointed with his failure to make broader changes during his first term. But they are anxious to keep out Raisi, who they see as representing the security state at its most fearsome: in the 1980s he was one of four judges who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death.

 

"I am on my way to vote for Rouhani. I like his detente policy with the world. I know he is not a reformist, but who cares? What matters is that he is not Raisi," government employee Yousef Ghaemi, 43, said by phone in the western city of Kermanshah.

 

For conservatives, the election represents a chance to restore the values of the 1979 revolution, which requires elected officials to be subordinate to the Shi'ite Muslim clergy and supreme leader.

 

"I cast my vote already - I voted for Raisi because he is a follower of Imam Khamenei. He will not confront the leader if elected. He will protect our Islamic identity," said Mehran Fardoust, 36, a shopkeeper near the Imam Reza Shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, Raisi's home town.

 

Despite the removal of nuclear-related sanctions in 2016, lingering unilateral U.S. sanctions that target Iran's record on human rights and terrorism have kept foreign companies wary of investing, limiting the economic benefits so far.

 

Raisi has focused his campaign on the economy, visiting rural areas and villages and promising housing, jobs and more welfare benefits, a message which could have resonated with millions of poor voters angry at the Tehran elite.

 

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two, presumably Rouhani and Raisi, will face each other a second time in a run-off in a week.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-05-20

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A farce in Farsi land. Pass the envelope please and the winner is! NOBODY like the rest of the world. 

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7 hours ago, rooster59 said:

"I cast my vote already - I voted for Raisi because he is a follower of Imam Khamenei. He will not confront the leader if elected. He will protect our Islamic identity," said Mehran Fardoust, 36, a shopkeeper near the Imam Reza Shrine in the holy city of Mashhad, Raisi's home town.

Sadly rather says it all. None confrontational meek mild obeying bowing scraping etc. 

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7 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Raisi, 56, has accused Rouhani of mismanaging the economy and has travelled to poor areas, speaking at rallies pledging more welfare benefits and jobs.

Heaven forbid that he should travel to poor areas and give them some hope what is wrong with this fellow. 

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7 hours ago, rooster59 said:

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two, presumably Rouhani and Raisi, will face each other a second time in a run-off in a week.

 

Gives them a whole week to dream up of smear campaigns against their opponent. 

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2 hours ago, elgordo38 said:

Sadly rather says it all. None confrontational meek mild obeying bowing scraping etc. 

Clearly, you have not been keeping up with the situation in Iran. Rouhani is the favorite.

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19 minutes ago, ilostmypassword said:

Clearly, you have not been keeping up with the situation in Iran. Rouhani is the favorite.

 

19 minutes ago, ilostmypassword said:

Clearly, you have not been keeping up with the situation in Iran. Rouhani is the favorite.

Yes I do keep up and was aware of that I am talking of voter mentality in general as outlined in the article. 

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Good news!

 

Decisive victory for the moderates over the extremists!

 

Should get some payback for that...

 

Doubt Trumpy will understand

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8 minutes ago, Grouse said:

Good news!

 

Decisive victory for the moderates over the extremists!

 

Should get some payback for that...

 

Doubt Trumpy will understand

 

Should get some payback for that...

 

Doubt Trumpy will understand

 

I dunno whether Trump understand or not, but the US in not oblivious to Iran's domestic politics:

 

U.S. extends sanctions relief under Iran nuclear deal

https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/983638-us-extends-sanctions-relief-under-iran-nuclear-deal/

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12 minutes ago, Morch said:

 

Should get some payback for that...

 

Doubt Trumpy will understand

 

I dunno whether Trump understand or not, but the US in not oblivious to Iran's domestic politics:

 

U.S. extends sanctions relief under Iran nuclear deal

https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/983638-us-extends-sanctions-relief-under-iran-nuclear-deal/

Good idea to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour.

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3 minutes ago, Grouse said:

Good idea to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour.

 

Doubt it was thought of as "rewarding good behaviour", more like "let's not play into the greater-of-two-evils's hands".

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Posted (edited)

You have got to laugh (if not cry) at the utter hypocrisy of Trump cosying up to the head chopping mysogynistic corrupt monarchies, autocrats and dictatorships just across the water from Iran's comparatively free election.... Pretty hard to put your finger on where the axis of evil is these days.

 

(Only saying.. I am no great fan of Iran either)

 

"Rouhani’s victory is good news for Iran, but bad news for Trump and his Sunni allies
The Saudis will be appalled that a (comparatively) reasonable Iranian has won a (comparatively) free election that almost none of the 50 dictators gathering to meet Trump in Riyadh would ever dare to hold

 

But what a contrast this election has been to the vast congress of dictators and cut-throat autocrats greeting Donald Trump in Riyadh – just as the Iranian election results were announced. Save for Lebanon and Tunisia and Pakistan, almost every Muslim leader gathered in Saudi Arabia treats democracy as a joke or a farce – hence the 96 per cent victories of their leaders – or an irrelevancy. "

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-election-rouhani-saudi-arabia-trump-bad-news-a7746146.html

Edited by dexterm
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BANGKOK 21 November 2017 21:16
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