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Islamic Republic’s Election Heads to Runoff with Lowest Turnout in Regime’s History

Four candidates were vying for the position of president. Reuters
Four candidates were vying for the position of president. Reuters

None of the four candidates who ran in Friday’s presidential election in Iran received a majority of the votes, forcing a run-off that is scheduled for July 5.

“Reformist” contender and heart surgeon Masoud Pezeshkian, who won the most support with 42.5 percent of the electorate, will now face the second-place finisher, conservative former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

Voter turnout was the lowest in the Islamic Republic’s history, with only 40 percent of the nation's 60 million eligible citizens participating.

In addition to the lessened involvement, more than 1 million Iranians reportedly voided their ballots in protest of the effort.

The race originally had six participants, all of whom were required to gain pre-approval from the regime’s “Guardian Council” to stand for office.

Two of the selected nominees, former Vice President Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi and Mayor of Tehran Alireza Zakani, withdrew from consideration on Thursday.

The plebiscite was held to replace the deceased President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash in May.

Regardless of who wins Friday’s contest, the 1979 Islamist constitution grants Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei the autocratic power to overrule any government decision.

Related Story: Two of the Islamic Republic’s Pre-Approved Presidential Candidates Resign from Race

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