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Iran presidential election heads to July 5 runoff between Pezeshkian and Jalili

Former health minister Masoud Pezeshkian (R) and former top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili (L) head to a runoff election on July 5, 2024.

Iran will hold a runoff presidential election on July 5 after Friday's vote saw none of the four candidates securing an outright win, the election headquarters announced on Saturday.

Mohsen Eslami, the spokesperson for the country's election headquarters, announced the final result at a news conference following the announcement of the final vote count.

He said of 24.5 million votes cast, former health minister and senior lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian got 10.4 million while former lead nuclear negotiator and chief of the top security body Saeed Jalili received 9.4 million.

The other two hopefuls – parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and former interior affairs minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi – trailed behind at 3.3 million and over 206,000 respectively. 

Pezeshkian and Jalili will head into a runoff set for July 5. The second round is required if no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, plus one.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the government is ready to hold the runoff election as he hailed the Iranian people and election authorities for holding the polls without any incident.   

"Once again, in the past few months, we were able to achieve another success together. The elections were held with complete safety and soundness, serious competition and valuable turnout of people at the polling stations," he told reporters after the final vote count.  

 "I hope ... we will see vigorous elections throughout the country on Friday," he added.

The two candidates are allowed to begin their election campaign from Sunday until Wednesday, Vahidi said. Campaigning has to stop 24 hours before the vote.  

In the final tally, Pezeshkian held his lead with 10,415,991 votes (42.45%) out of 24,535,185 votes. Jalili edged closer with 9,473,298 votes (38.61%).

Qalibaf and Pourmohammadi both came a distant third and fourth with 3,383,340 (13.78%) and 206,397 votes (0.84%) respectively.

Voting was extended three times on Friday, each time by two hours, after 6:00 p.m. local time when the polling was supposed to close as per the Constitutional requirement of a 10-hour voting period.  

The voting lines finally closed at midnight after which the vote counting began at thousands of polling stations scattered across the country, including more than 6,000 in the capital Tehran.

The snap presidential election was called after President Ebrahim Raeisi passed away in a helicopter crash with seven others on May 19 in northwestern Iran. 

More than 61 million Iranians were eligible to vote in Friday's election, many of them first-time voters.

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