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Iran elections: Runoff to be held July 5 — Interior Ministry

June 29, 2024

Results from Friday's vote show hard-liner Saeed Jalili and reformist Masoud Pezeshkian neck and neck in Iran's presidential polls. The vote was to elect a successor to late President Raisi, killed in a helicopter crash.

Picture of four presidential candidates
Four candidates were vying for the position of Iranian presidentImage: Majid Asgaripour/WANA/REUTERS

Neither of the two frontrunners in Iran's snap presidential elections has won outright, making a runoff necessary, the Iranian Interior Ministry said on Saturday. 

Of 24.5 million ballots cast, moderate candidate Masoud Pezeshkian, a heart surgeon, had garnered 10.4 million votes, while his hard-line challenger Saeed Jalili had won 9.4 million, according to Mohsen Eslami, an election spokesman.

Parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf got 3.3 million, while Shiite cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi had only something over 206,000 votes.

Qalibaf subsequently called on his supporters to vote for Jalili in the second round.

The Tasnim news agency had already said a runoff election was "very likely" as the country voted for a successor to hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi, who was killed in a helicopter crash in May.

Under Iranian electoral law, a runoff between the two top candidates is held on the first Friday after the result is announced if neither wins at least 50% plus one vote from all ballots cast, including blank votes.

The date thus set for the runoff is July 5.

Widespread dissatisfaction

The vote comes as the clerical establishment faces widespread public discontent over economic hardship and harsh restrictions on political and social freedoms.

The Interior Ministry said the turnout for Friday's vote was historically low, at around 40%, with some analysts saying this indicates that the credibility of the country's political system has been eroded.  

Only six candidates from an initial pool of 80 were approved for the election by the country's hard-line watchdog body, and two of those subsequently dropped out.

All the candidates pledged to revive the ailing economy, which has been undermined by mismanagement and state corruption, as well as international sanctions that have been reimposed since 2018 after the US withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact with six world powers.

The vote will have no oversight from internationally recognized monitors.

Protests in Berlin

Some 6,000 people turned up to a protest in the German capital Berlin to coincide with the Iranian election, according to police figures.

People, many of them expatriate Iranians living in Berlin, gather to demand freedom and democracy for Iran the day after Iran's presidential election on June 29, 2024 in Berlin, Germany
Organizers of the protest said up to 8,000 people were expectedImage: Getty Images

The demonstration was organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and some members of the German Bundestag were expected to join.

Buses brought protesters from all over Germany, many were waving flags bearing a lion that go back to the time of the shahs. Some 336,000 people with an Iranian migratory background live in Germany, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

The NCRI is a coalition of dissident groups that seek the overflow of the Islamic Republic. The main group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, is seen as a controversial group both within and outside of Iran, partly because of the support they gave to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.

People, many of them expatriate Iranians living in Berlin, gather to demand freedom and democracy for Iran the day after Iran's presidential election on June 29, 2024 in Berlin, Germany
Thousands of Iranians came to Germany after the revolution and the fall of the shah's regimeImage: Getty Images

ab,tj/kb (Reuters, AP)