Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani has emphatingly won the country’s presidential election, according to official results, fending off a challenge by principlist rival, Ebrahim Raisi.
With nearly all of votes in Friday’s hard-fought poll counted, Rouhani was leading the race with 58.6 percent, state media broadcast on Saturday. Raisi, his closest rival, won 39.8 percent.
Two other candidates – Mostafa Mirsalim, a conservative, and reformist Mostafa Hashemitaba – were around the one percent mark.
A big turnout on Friday, estimated at more than 40 million out of 56 million registered voters, led to the vote being extended by several hours to deal with long queues.
The Interior Ministry said Mr. Rouhani had won 22.8 million, soundly defeating his chief opponent, Ebrahim Raisi, who received 15.5 million. Iranian state television congratulated Mr. Rouhani on his victory.
Official final results are expected later on Saturday.
The election was seen by many as a verdict on Rouhani’s policy of opening up Iran to the world and his efforts to rebuild its stagnant economy.
Rouhani swept into office four years ago on a promise to reduce Iran’s international isolation.
Friday poll was the first since he negotiated a historic deal with world powers in 2015 to curb the country’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
In the campaign trail, Rouhani sought to frame the vote as a choice between greater civil liberties and “extremism”, criticising the continued arrest of reformist leaders and activists.