Uhuru-Spirit News

IRAN HEADS TO POLLS TO ELECT PRESIDENT

May 19, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani



Iran heads to the polls on Friday to elect a new president, with incumbent Hassan Rowhani fighting to keep the country on a reformist course.

His main rival is Ebrahim Raisi, an arch-conservative cleric and lawyer.

Fifty-six million Iranians are elligible to vote in the election, which is being interpreted as a referendum on Rowhani's attempts to open Iran up to the West.

While Rowhani may be the popular favourite, Raisi has the support of the state's powerful body of unelected clerics and the state media behind him.

Observers believe that the moderate president's best chances of a second term lie in a high voter turnout.

The election follows a heated campaign, in which Rowhani has accused his rival of "using religion" to score political points. The president has told voters that they face a choice between freedom and "women and men separated by walls."

Raisi has accused Rowhani of lies and incompetency, blaming him for high unemployment in the country.

The 56-year-old cleric said Rowhani's long-praised nuclear deal with six world powers - which set up international controls over Iran's nuclear programme in return for the end of 10 years of economic sanctions - had brought nothing for Iran.

Preliminary results are expected early Saturday. Interior Minister Rahman Fasli said the final outcome is expected Saturday evening or on Sunday.

-dpa



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