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Voting Underway in Iran’s Snap Presidential Election

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Polling for Iran’s snap presidential election is in full swing, with four candidates vying to succeed Ebrahim Raisi, who tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in May.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) on Friday for the 14th presidential election. Due to an unexpectedly high voter turnout, the voting hours have been extended to midnight (2030 GMT), according to Mohsen Eslami, spokesperson for Iran’s election headquarters. Initially set to close at 6 p.m. (1430 GMT), the closing time has been extended three times by two hours each, with Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi authorized to make these extensions if necessary.

Despite the sweltering heat in Tehran, residents are queuing up to cast their votes, Tehran Governor Alireza Fakhari told reporters. He noted that it’s common for Tehran’s populace to wait until evening hours to vote. “The turnout at the polls in Tehran province is notably meaningful and significant,” he said, emphasizing that this participation will yield another triumph in this political test.

Over 61 million individuals are eligible to vote, with balloting taking place at 58,640 locations nationwide, primarily in educational and religious sites. Initial estimates of the election outcome are anticipated by Saturday morning, with the conclusive tally expected by Sunday.

If no candidate achieves an outright majority, a runoff between the leading two contenders is scheduled for July 5, with the victor holding office for a four-year term.

This snap election was necessitated by the loss of former President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash. Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six others, died on May 19 when their helicopter crashed in foggy weather near the northwestern border with Azerbaijan. Their bodies were discovered the following day after a massive search operation.

Under Articles 131 and 132 of Iran’s Constitution, a new president must be elected by public vote within a maximum of 50 days from the day a president dies or is incapacitated.

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