Iran reformist Pezeshkian defeats hardliner Saeed Jalili in presidential runoff

Iran's reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian got more than 17 million votes while hardliner Saeed Jalili garnered more than 13 million out of about 30 million votes cast in a runoff presidential election.
Iran reformist Pezeshkian defeats hardliner Saeed Jalili in presidential runoff
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Iran's reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian on Saturday won a runoff presidential election against ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, the interior ministry said.

Pezeshkian got more than 17 million votes and Jalili more than 13 million out of about 30 million votes cast, electoral authority spokesman Mohsen Eslami said, adding that voter turnout stood at 49.8 per cent.

The election, called early after the death of ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, followed a first round marked by a historically low turnout last week.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who wields ultimate authority, had called for a higher turnout in the runoff, emphasising the importance of the election.

He said the first round turnout was lower than expected, but added that it was not an act "against the system".

The ballot comes against a backdrop of heightened regional tensions over the Gaza war, a dispute with the West over Iran's nuclear programme, and domestic discontent over the state of Iran's sanctions-hit economy.

REFORMIST SUPPORT

In last week's first round, Pezeshkian, who was the only reformist allowed to stand, won the largest number of votes, around 42 per cent, while Jalili came second with around 39 per cent, according to figures from Iran's elections authority.

Only 40 per cent of Iran's 61 million eligible voters took part in the first round -- the lowest turnout in any presidential election since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

The candidacy of Pezeshkian, a relative unknown until recently, has raised the hopes of Iran's reformists after years of dominance by the conservative and ultraconservative camps.

Iran's main reformist coalition supported Pezeshkian, with endorsements by former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hassan Rouhani, a moderate.

Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old heart surgeon, has called for "constructive relations" with Western countries to revive the nuclear deal in order to "get Iran out of its isolation".

During his campaign, he rallied a substantial base of hardline supporters and received backing from other conservative figures.

Ahead of Friday's runoff, Pezeshkian and Jalili took part in two televised debates during which they discussed the low turnout, as well as Iran's economic woes, international relations and internet restrictions.

Pezeshkian vowed to ease long-standing internet restrictions and to "fully" oppose police patrols enforcing the mandatory headscarf for women, a high-profile issue since the death in police custody in 2022 of Mahsa Amini.

Also Read
8 detained in murder of Armstrong, chief of Mayawati's party in Tamil Nadu
Iran reformist Pezeshkian defeats hardliner Saeed Jalili in presidential runoff

The 22-year-old Iranian Kurd had been detained for an alleged breach of the dress code and her death sparked months of nationwide unrest.

Source: India Today

Stay connected to Jaano Junction on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Koo. Listen to our Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

logo
Jaano Junction
www.jaanojunction.com