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‘Reformist’ Rouhani wins Iran election
June 15, 2013, 3:59 pm

Rouhani is seen as a much better alternative to the conservatives, who many blame for ruining the economy [Xinhua]

Rouhani is seen as a better alternative to the conservatives, who many blame for ruining the economy [Xinhua]

Hassan Rouhani, believed by many to be the lone moderate among conservative candidates, has won Iran’s presidential election with nearly 37 million ballots counted so far, the Interior Ministry announced Saturday.

According to totals given by Hassan Ali Nouri, head of the elections office at the Interior Ministry and broadcast on state television, Rouhani won 50.7 percent of the vote followed by Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf with 15.8 percent, Former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai had 11.3 percent and nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili at 11.5 percent.

The Interior Ministry said Saturday that the turnout was more than 72 percent of the eligible electorate of 50.5 million.

Rouhani, 64, is a candidate of the Moderation and Development Party and has recently gained momentum since former President Mohammad Khatami – considered to be the most reformist of Iran’s leaders in past decades – said he supported his run for president.

Khatami, who led the reformists to win the presidential polls in 1997 and 2001, said he would vote for Rouhani due to the responsibility he feels toward the country and the fate of the Iranian nation.

Both Khatami and another ex-president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, voiced their support for Rouhani during Friday’s voting.

Sadeq Zibakalam, a professor of politics at Tehran University, told Xinhua Saturday that with the support of Khatami and Rafsanjani as well as his pragmatic policies, Rouhani is capable of uniting reformists and moderates to put more weight in his bid for presidency.

A Rouhani win is an unexpected victory over his conservative rivals who have been blamed for causing the country’s social and economic malaise.

Source: Agencies and Xinhua