TEHRAN, May 19. /TASS/. More than 63,000 voting stations opened in Iran at 08.00 a.m. local time (03.30 GMT) on Friday for the country’s presidential election.
Four candidates are running for presidency: Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, who seeks the second term, former Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisim, former Culture Minister Seyed Mostafa Agha Mirsalim and former Industries Minister Mostafa Hashemitaba.
The first two candidates are the frontrunners and opinion polls show they have equal chances to secure victory. The former members of the government seem to be outsiders in the race and acknowledge this themselves.
At first, six presidential candidates had been registered, but Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and First Vice President Eshaq Jahangir withdrew from the race earlier this week.
A candidate needs to garner more than 50% to win the election. If neither candidate manages to do this, a run-off will be held where two frontrunners of the race will compete. Many Iranian political scientists said earlier that the second round was inevitable as neither candidate was projected to secure support of half of voters. After two candidates have stepped aside, there are more chances that one of favorites of the race will win the election in the first round.
The election headquarters at the Iranian Interior Ministry pledges to count the votes as soon as possible. Officially, the vote will last until 6 p.m. local time but may be extended by a decision of Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.
More than 56 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the election and the voter turnout is expected to be at least 70%.