The Herald on Sunday

Hardline Raisi wins landslide victory in Iran election

- Read David Pratt on Iran

IRAN’S hardline judiciary chief won a landslide victory on Saturday in the country’s presidenti­al election.

It was a vote that both propelled the supreme leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position and saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history.

The election of Ebrahim Raisi, already sanctioned by the US in part over his involvemen­t in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competitio­n found themselves disqualifi­ed from running.

That sparked calls for a boycott and many apparently did stay home. Out of more than 59 million eligible voters, only 28.9 million voted.

Of those voting, some 3.7 million people either accidental­ly or intentiona­lly voided their ballots, far beyond the amount seen in previous elections and suggesting some wanted none of the four candidates.

Iranian state television immediatel­y blamed challenges of the coronaviru­s pandemic and US sanctions for the low turnout.

But the turnout and voided ballots suggested a wider unhappines­s with the tightly controlled election, as activists criticised Raisi’s ascension.

Amnesty Internatio­nal’s secretary-general, Agnes Callamard, said: “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigat­ed for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappeara­nce and torture is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

In official results, Raisi won 17.9 million votes overall, nearly 62 per cent of the total 28.9 million cast.

Had the voided ballots gone to a candidate, that person would have come in second place. Following Raisi was former hardline Revolution­ary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei with 3.4 million votes.

Former central bank chief Abdolnasse­r Hemmati came in third with 2.4 million votes.

Interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, who gave the results, did not explain the high number of voided ballots.

“I hope I can respond well to the people’s confidence, vote and kindness during my term,” Raisi said.

 ??  ?? Ebrahim Raisi has just won a landslide victory in Iran’s presidenti­al elections
Ebrahim Raisi has just won a landslide victory in Iran’s presidenti­al elections

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