Iran’s moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani has been elected President, trouncing his conservative rivals by a wide margin and raising hopes of mainstreaming reformists who had faced political marginalisation over the last eight years.
Iran’s English-language Press TV is reporting that out of the 36, 704,156 votes tallied, Mr. Rouhani won a total of 18,613,329 votes, securing 50.70 per cent of the votes, sufficient to avoid a run-off with his nearest rival.
Earlier, after a count of over 27 million votes, Mr. Rouhani’s camp had seriously begun to anticipate an outright victory, by scaling the 50 per cent threshold required to avoid a second round of balloting between the top two candidates. “Good news is on the way,” read a message on the Twitter account of Mr. Rouhani’s campaign. Another supporter tweeted: “Be a bit patient, dawn is near.”
Prior to the latest announcement from the interior ministry, it had become evident that the conservative candidates were heading for a resounding defeat.
Hardline conservative Saeed Jalili, thought by many as frontrunner in the race because of his perceived proximity to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, influential clerics in Qom and the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, was trailing in the third position, having got only 11.46 per cent of the vote according to an earlier count.
Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, in second position, had done slightly better, but stood way behind Mr. Rouhani’s expanding runaway tally.