He was the top favorite to win the election in Iran: Ebrahim Raeissi will be the new President of Iran. The media and observers expect that he will break with the moderate course of his predecessor.
The ultra-conservative candidate Ebrahim Raeissi won the presidential election in Iran with more than 62 percent of the vote, according to the official partial results. Of the 28.6 million ballot papers counted, Raeissi accounted for “more than 17.8 million”, said the chairman of the national election commission in Tehran on Saturday. More than 59.3 million Iranians were eligible to vote.
The incumbent Hassan Ruhani had previously announced that a new head of state had been elected in the first ballot. “I congratulate the people on their election,” said Ruhani. “My official congratulations will come later, but we know who got enough votes in this election and who was elected by the people today.”
Election poster for Ebrahim Raeissi: The ultra-conservative head of justice was already the favorite before the elections. (Source: NurPhoto / imago images)
Raeissi’s three opponents congratulated the head of justice even before the official results were announced on Twitter, Instagram and in statements published by the Iranian media. According to the Iranian state media, the counting of the votes in Friday’s election is still ongoing.
“Relentless” fighter against poverty and corruption
After the exclusion of all other promising candidates, Raeissi’s election was considered almost certain. The 60-year-old clergyman sees himself as a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, in the Shiite clergy he holds the second highest rank of Hodschatoleslam. As a politician, the ultra-conservative presents himself as a “relentless” fighter against poverty and corruption.
With Raeissi, the media and observers expect a change of political power in the country. They are convinced that the arch-conservative cleric will not continue Ruhani’s moderate course as president. As a long-time public prosecutor, judge and since 2019 head of justice, he has little political experience. Nevertheless, he is faced with many political challenges even at the beginning of his term in office.
Above all, he has to decide on the future of the Vienna nuclear agreement of 2015. After the US withdrew from the international agreement in 2018, Tehran gradually lifted the agreed restrictions and controls on nuclear facilities. Not least the US sanctions caused a severe economic crisis in Iran. Negotiations with the archenemy USA would be necessary for the agreement to continue. In Middle East politics, observers under Raeissi expect a more radical course, and in relation to Israel an even more hostile one than before.
The presidential election in Iran was overshadowed by low turnout and the deep economic crisis in the country. Because of the low turnout, the opening of the polling stations was extended until Saturday at 2 a.m.
The country’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Chamenei, was the first to cast his vote in the capital Tehran – as a role model for the more than 59 million eligible voters. “The sooner you do this task and duty, the better,” said the 81-year-old. The vote “serves to build the future” of the Iranian people. Nevertheless, according to the Fars news agency, voter turnout after twelve hours was only 37 percent nationwide.