Counting begins in Iran Presidential election

Tehran [Iran], May20 : The counting of vote began in Iran on Saturday after a huge voter turnout in an unexpectedly tight presidential race between President Hassan Rouhani and hardliner Ebrahim Raisi.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said that voting for presidential and local elections in Iran was extended for the third time stressing that polling will definitely end at 12 pm local time.

The polls opened at 8:00 local time on Friday. More than 40 million people voted in this election and such a huge voter turnout. The election will go to a runoff if no candidate wins more than 50% of votes cast. Iran's presidential elections will have a huge impact on country's relations with the West and on the Iran nuclear deal which was achieved after years of tough negotiations.

Electoral decisions in Iran are taken by its most powerful political body, the Guardian Council. It is the upper house of the Iranian Parliament and has twelve members all of whom are men. The Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei helps appoint the Guardian Council, panel of conservatives that decides who will run for president.

Khamenei has the final say on all matter of foreign and domestic policy . The election is seen as a verdict on Rouhani's policy of opening up Iran to the world and his efforts to revive the economy.

President Rouhani has sought to frame the election as a choice between greater civil liberties and extremism.

Rouhani, meanwhile, is essentially running for re-election as an outsider, and is backed by Iran's reformist camp.

Source: ANI