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World

REUTERS
May 20, 2017
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Hassan Rouhani wins Iran’s presidential election

Hassan Rouhani wins Iran’s presidential election

 

DUBAI: Iran´s President Hassan Rouhani has won the country´s presidential election with some 57 percent of the total votes, the country´s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmanifazli said on Saturday.

"Of some 41.2 million total votes cast, Rouhani got 23.5 ... and won the election," Rahmanifazli said in remarks carried live by state TV.

Rouhani´s hardline rival Ebrahim Raisi got 15.8 million votes, he said.

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Rouhani, known for decades as a mild-mannered member of the establishment, campaigned as an ardent reformist to stir up the passions of young, urban voters yearning for change. At times he crossed traditional rhetorical boundaries, openly attacking the human rights record of the security forces and the judiciary.

During one rally he referred to hardliners as "those who cut out tongues and sewed mouths shut". In a debate last week he accused Raisi of seeking to "abuse religion for power". The rhetoric at the debate earned a rare public rebuke from Khamenei, who called it "unworthy".

The big turnout appeared to have favoured Rouhani, whose backers' main concern had been apathy among reformist-leaning voters disappointed with the slow pace of change.

Many voters were particularly determined to block the rise of Raisi, one of four judges who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s, regarded by reformers as a symbol of the security state at its most fearsome.

"The wide mobilisation of the hardline groups and the real prospect of Raisi winning scared many people into coming out to vote," said Nasser, a 52-year-old journalist.

"We had a bet among friends, and I said Raisi would win and I think that encouraged a few of my friends who might not have voted to come out and vote."

The election was important "for Iran's future role in the region and the world", Rouhani said on Friday after voting.

Raisi, 56, had accused Rouhani of mismanaging the economy, travelling to poor areas and holding rallies where he promised more welfare benefits and jobs.

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