Polling extended as Iranians deliver verdict on Rouhani


Tehran (AFP) – Iran’s polls finally closed after Friday’s election was extended to cope with the large numbers turning out to give their verdict on President Hassan Rouhani and his troubled efforts to rebuild international ties and kickstart the struggling economy.

Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate cleric who spearheaded a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, has framed the vote as a choice between greater civil liberties and “extremism”.

But he has faced stiff competition from hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who positioned himself as a defender of the poor and called for a much tougher line with the West.

The interior ministry extended the vote to midnight as it became clear thousands were still waiting in line when the initial closing time arrived four hours earlier.

“The enthusiastic participation of Iranians in the election reinforces our national power and security,” said Rouhani…



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