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Iran Presidential Election Heads to Runoff After Reformist Leads Voting

Iran Presidential Election Heads to Runoff After Reformist Leads Voting

In the first round of Iran’s presidential election, a reformist candidate won the most votes and will compete against a conservative hardliner in a runoff next week. No candidate secured over 50% of the vote, leading to a second round on July 5. This election marked the lowest voter turnout since the Islamic Republic’s inception in 1979.

Reformist lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian and ultraconservative former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will face each other in the runoff. Pezeshkian led with 42.5% of the votes, while Jalili received 38.6%. Out of 60 million eligible voters, only 24 million participated, resulting in a 40% turnout.

Read more: Iran Holds Today Presidential Elections After Raisi Tragic Death

The election’s results are under review by the Guardian Council, which oversees Iran’s elections, before the candidates resume campaigning.

This election was called after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, alongside other officials. Two conservative candidates withdrew just before the election to consolidate the conservative vote.

Pezeshkian emerged as the sole reformist candidate after the Guardian Council barred many others. He gained prominence for opposing the 2009 crackdown on pro-democracy protests and for his criticism of the morality police’s violence in 2022. Pezeshkian, who has previously run for president unsuccessfully, comes from a mixed ethnic background, which has both helped and hindered his political image.

On the other hand, Jalili is known for his hardline stance against the West and his role as a top security adviser and former soldier. He played a key role in the 2015 nuclear negotiations, advocating for Iran’s rights and opposing reliance on foreign powers. Jalili’s victory could complicate efforts to renew negotiations with the West.

The election occurs amid escalating tensions with Israel and Western allies, related to conflicts in Gaza and Iran’s nuclear advancements. Iran’s Supreme Leader remains the ultimate decision-maker, but the elected president represents the country internationally.

Despite domestic challenges, including a struggling economy and international tensions, the election outcome will shape Iran’s future policies and its relationship with the world.