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Incumbent Rouhani wins Iranian elections

May 20, 2017

President Hassan Rouhani has won Iran's presidential election, beating conservative Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani's victory is a signal that the majority of Iranians wish to keep the course of reform and modernization.

Hassan Rouhani
Image: Getty Images/B.Mehri

Rare night of street parties in Iran

With a substantial turnout for Iran's presidential election on Friday, incumbent President Hassan Rouhani won with a resounding majority.

With almost all of the votes counted, Rouhani got 23.5 million votes compared to 15.8 million for his nearest challenger, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, according to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.

Rouhani told national television later on Friday that the message of the election was one of "Iran living in peace and friendship with the world."

He said the election showed Iran is ready to promote friendly global relations "based on mutual respect and its national interests."

However he added that Iranians will not accept "humiliation and threats, this is the most important message that our nation expects
to be heard by all - particularly world powers."

"I congratulate the great victory of the Iranian nation in creating a huge and memorable epic in the continuation of the path of 'wisdom and hope'," tweeted Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, referring to the government's slogan. 

The Interior Ministry reported that 40 million ballots were cast out of 56 million registered voters, representing a 70 percent turnout, similar to the 2013 elections which brought Rouhani to power. In the end, Rouhani received 57 percent of all votes.

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

The huge turnout on Friday led to the vote being extended by several hours to deal with long queues.

Read more: The Iranian presidential election: What you need to know

Interest groups

Rouhani had won the last election on a platform of promoting a more open Iran on the international stage as well as more freedoms domestically. Two years ago he completed an agreement with world powers to curb the country's nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions. He said the election was important "for Iran's future role in the region and the world."

Iran Präsidentschaftswahlen 2017
Voting in Tehran was extended to allow people waiting in long line to cast their ballotsImage: picture-alliance/Photoshot/A. Halabisaz

With his reelection, Rouhani may now have leverage to push for more freedoms, despite opposition from the conservative-dominated judiciary and security services.

After some strong exchanges during the election campaign, Rouhani called on the powerful Revolutionary Guards security force not to become involved in the vote by showing support for Raisi, who had supreme leader Ali Khamenei's patronage, and is regarded a preferred successor for the most important man in Iranian politics.

Raisi's party had hopes of a good showing among those voters seeking a return to the conservative values of the 1979 Iranian Revolution as espoused by the supreme leader.

ss, jm/sms (Reuters, dpa)