Iran elects moderate cleric Rouhani president

Voters line up to get ballots to cast for the presidential and municipal councils election as some of them work with their cell phones in a polling station in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 19, 2017. Millions of Iranians voted late into the night Friday.

Rouhani won Friday's presidential election by securing an absolute majority of the votes.

As Rouhani's victory looked increasingly likely late Friday, some female drivers held out the V for victory sign and flashed their auto lights on highways in Tehran's affluent north.

"A new record was set", he said, referring to presidential election turnout, and noted that the result "showed increasing progress of Iranian nation". Millions of Iranians vo.

Iranian state TV announced Rouhani's win that will see him serve a second term as president, with a convincing 57 percent of the vote.

Rouhani has secured over 23.549 million votes, while Raisi has garnered around 15.786 million.

Many female drivers held out the V for victory sign and flashed their vehicle lights on highways to celebrate the win in Tehran's affluent north. Rouhani is to make a televised victory speech at 3.30pm CET.

Election officials said the extensions to voting hours were due to "requests" and the "enthusiastic participation of people". Reports state that Iran has a total of 56.4 million eligible voters.

Iran says incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is ahead of his nearest competitor in an initial count of votes in the election.

In 2013, Rouhani won his first term with almost 51 percent of the vote amid a turnout of 73 percent.

Iranians yearning for more freedom at home and less isolation overseas have emphatically re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, throwing down a challenge to the conservative clergy that still holds ultimate sway. However, since the system of government is a combination of theocracy, dictatorship and democracy, the last word in the country is not that of the president but of the Supreme Leader who not only chooses the presidential candidates, but disqualifies anyone who wants to drastically change anything in the country. She says a good deal of Rouhani's support was motivated by fear of what might happen if the hard liners regained control of the executive branch.

Mr Rouhani, 68, who took office promising to open Iran to the world and give its citizens more freedom at home, faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from Mr Raisi, a protégé of supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

"I shall remain loyal to my commitments to you", Rouhani wrote on his Twitter account. I humbly bow down before you.

Speaking Saturday in Saudi Arabia, Tillerson said President Hassan Rouhani now has the opportunity to end Iran's role in supporting "destabilizing forces that exist in this region".

Although considered a moderate by Iranian standards, Rouhani was nonetheless the favourite pick for those seeking more liberal reforms in the conservative Islamic Republic. Raisi ran a populist campaign, vowing to fight corruption and fix the economy while boosting welfare payments to the poor. Hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi has 10.1 million votes. Aqa-Mirsalim and Hashemi-Taba have so far secured 1.13 and 0.52 percent of the votes, respectively.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Iran's incumbent President Hassan Rouhani on the victory in the national presidential election held Friday, the Kremlin's press service said Saturday.

Although Rouhani has been deeply entrenched in Iran's security establishment since the early days of the revolution, he has emerged as the standard-bearer for reformists after their movement was decimated in the wake of mass protests in 2009. Election officials extended voting hours at least three times.

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