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Iran Votes in Presidential Poll Tipped in Hard-liner's Favour

Supporters of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi hold posters of him during an election rally in Tehran, Iran. Reuters

Supporters of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi hold posters of him during an election rally in Tehran, Iran. Reuters

State-linked opinion polling and analysts have put hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as the dominant front-runner in a field of just four candidates.

Iran began voting Friday in a presidential election tipped in the favor of a hard-line protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. local time for the vote, which has seen widespread public apathy after a panel under Khamenei barred hundreds of candidates, including reformists and those aligned with the outgoing president, the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani.

State-linked opinion polling and analysts have put hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as the dominant front-runner in a field of just four candidates. Former Central Bank chief, Abdolnasser Hemmati, is running as the race’s moderate candidate but hasn’t inspired the same support as Rouhani, who is term-limited from seeking the office again.

There are more than 59 million eligible voters among Iran’s more than 80 million people. However, the state-linked Iranian Student Polling Agency has estimated a turnout of just 42%, which would be the lowest ever since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Khamenei cast the ceremonial first ballot in the election.

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first published:June 18, 2021, 10:00 IST