After low turnout, Ibrahim Raisy, the head of the hardline judiciary, won the Iranian presidency

On Saturday, the head of Iran’s tough judicial department won the country’s presidential election with a landslide victory, pushing the disciples of the supreme leader to the highest civilian position in Tehran. The vote seemed to be the lowest turnout in Iran’s history.

Preliminary results showed that Ebrahim Raisi won 17.8 million votes in the competition, dwarfing the only moderate candidate in the competition. However, only after the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) supervised a team disqualified his strongest competition, Raisi dominated the election.

His candidacy, and the feeling that this election feels more like a coronation for him, has caused widespread indifference among qualified voters in the Islamic Republic. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, turnout has been a sign of support for theocracy. Some people, including former hardline President Ahmadinejad, called for a boycott.

The head of the election headquarters of the Ministry of Interior of Iran, Jamal Orff, said that in the preliminary results, the former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei won 3.3 million votes and the moderate Abdolnasser Hemmati won 2.4 million votes. Orff said that the fourth candidate for the game, Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, had about 1 million votes.

Blowout victory

Earlier on Saturday, Hemmati congratulated Raisi on Instagram.

He wrote: “I hope your government will provide the Islamic Republic of Iran with reasons to be proud, improve the economy and life, and bring comfort and welfare to the great Iranian nation.”

Rezai praised Khamenei and the Iranian people for participating in the vote on Twitter.

“God is willing, and the decisive election of my esteemed brother Dr. Said Ibrahim Raisi promised to establish a strong and popular government to solve the country’s problems,” Rezai wrote.

On Friday, voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Tehran. Due to indifference and calls for boycotts, the election turnout seems to be very low. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

Although swift concessions are not uncommon in Iran’s past elections, it shows that Iran’s internal semi-official news organizations have been suggesting for hours that the carefully controlled vote in the boycott call is an explosive victory for Raisi.

As night falls on Friday, the voter turnout seems to be much lower than the last Iranian presidential election in 2017. At a polling station in a mosque in central Tehran, a Shia clergyman is playing football with a young boy, while most workers are napping in the yard. On the other hand, officials watched videos on their phones, and national television rang next to them, providing only close-up shots of all parts of the country—not the long, winding lines of past elections.

After the government expanded voting to accommodate the so-called “crowding” of polling stations across the country, voting ended at 2 a.m. on Saturday. The paper ballots in large plastic boxes will be manually counted at night, and the authorities said they expect to get preliminary results and the number of votes as early as Saturday morning.

Voter indifference

“My vote will not change anything in this election. There are a lot of people who voted for Raisi, and Hemmati does not have the necessary skills in this regard,” said Hediyeh, a 25-year-old woman who only revealed her name after avoiding polls. When rushing to a taxi in Haft-e Tir square. “I don’t have a candidate here.”

Iran’s national TV station tried to downplay the turnout, pointing out that the surrounding Gulf Arab Emirates, ruled by hereditary leaders, and Western democracies have low participation rates. After a day of amplifying officials’ attempts to fight for votes, the state television broadcasted scenes of several provinces crowded with polling stations overnight, trying to portray the last-minute vote rush.

But since the revolution overthrew the king in 1979, Iran’s theocracy has used voter turnout as a sign of its legitimacy. Since its first referendum with a 98.2% support rate, the referendum only asks whether people want an Islam. Republic.

The disqualification affected the reformers and those who supported Rouhani. The Rouhani government reached a nuclear agreement with world powers in 2015 and disintegrated three years later when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement.

With the rapid increase in coronavirus cases over the past few months, the economy has been hit hard and election campaigns have been suppressed, which has also contributed to voters’ indifference. Polling staff wore gloves and masks, and some people wiped the ballot boxes with disinfectant.

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