President Rouhani announces his successor has been elected, without naming the winner. Low turnout reported for the vote dominated by Ebrahim Raisi, a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and held amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The moderate candidate in Iran’s presidential election has conceded loss in the country’s presidential race to the country’s hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi.
Former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati wrote on Instagram to judiciary chief Raisi early on Saturday.
Hemmati wrote: “I hope your administration provides causes for pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran, improves the economy and life with comfort and welfare for the great nation of Iran.”
Rouhani congratulates people
Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani later said his successor had been elected, but did not name the widely expected victor.
“I congratulate the people on their choice,” said Rouhani after Friday’s vote as other candidates also congratulated Raisi. “My official congratulations will come later, but we know who got enough votes in this election and who is elected today by the people.”
Raisi did not immediately acknowledge Hemmati’s concession, nor that of former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei, who also conceded the loss.
Mohsen Rezaei’s concession in a post on Twitter came as Iran’s outgoing President Hassan Rouhani also acknowledged the winner in the country’s vote Friday was “clear,” though he didn’t immediately name judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi.
On Twitter, Rezaei praised Khamenei and the Iranian people for taking part in the vote.
“God willing, the decisive election of my esteemed brother, Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, promises the establishment of a strong and popular government to solve the country’s problems,” Rezaei wrote.
The election on Friday was dominated by Raisi, a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after the disqualification of the strongest competitors who could have challenged him in the vote.
As night fell Friday, turnout appeared far lower than in Iran’s last presidential election in 2017.
At one polling place inside a mosque in central Tehran, a Shiite cleric played soccer with a young boy as most of its workers napped in a courtyard. At another, officials watched videos on their mobile phones as state television blared beside them, offering only tight shots of locations around the country — as opposed to the long, snaking lines of past elections.
Balloting came to a close at 2.a.m. Saturday, after the government extended voting to accommodate what it called “crowding” at several polling places nationwide.
Paper ballots, stuffed into large plastic boxes, were to be counted by hand through the night, and authorities said they expected to have initial results and turnout figures Saturday morning at the earliest.
“My vote will not change anything in this election, the number of people who are voting for Raisi is huge and Hemmati does not have the necessary skills for this,” said Hediyeh, a 25-year-old woman who gave only her first name while hurrying to a taxi in Haft-e Tir Square after avoiding the polls.
“I have no candidate here.”