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Iran Presidential Election 2024: A Historic Runoff and Low Turnout

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The first round of the Iran election saw the lowest turnout for a presidential election in Islamic Republic’s history at 39.93%. As of now, Pezeshkian is in the lead by defeated hardliner Saeed Jalili in Iran’s runoff presidential election with 16.3 million votes

Iran Presidential Election 2024

Following President Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024, early presidential elections were held in Iran on June 28, 2024. A runoff vote between Saeed Jalili and Masoud Pezeshkian was conducted on July 5th because no candidate received a majority of the vote in the first round.

The initial round of the election saw the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election in the history of the Islamic Republic, with 39.93% of voters casting ballots. This was more than 8 points less than the previous record of 48.48% set in the Iranian presidential election of 2021. As of now, Pezeshkian is in the lead.

This vote was marked by historically low turnout. Election spokesperson Mohsen Eslami reported that Pezeshkian had 10.4 million votes, more than Jalili’s 9.4 million. As the night’s counting went on, he did not provide a final turnout figure.

What is the Election process in Iran?

According to Article 114 of the Iranian Constitution, the President of Iran is typically chosen every four years through a “direct vote of the people”. This indicates that a presidential election will be held earlier than the scheduled date of June 18, 2025, because of the president’s passing.

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The age requirement to vote is eighteen.The public votes on the candidates who have been granted by the Guardian Council. The individual who obtains a majority of the votes 50% plus one wins. The two candidates with the most votes compete in a run-off election the following Friday if no candidate receives enough votes. 

Iranian voters are rewarded with a stamp on their birth certificates indicating that they cast ballots during the election.The elected president cannot take office if the Supreme Leader refuses to sign the decree, as required by the constitution. Subsequently, the president takes an oath in front of the Guardian Council members and the Chief Justice of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

Who is Iran’s new President?

The country’s run-off presidential election has been won by the low-key moderate Masoud Pezeshkian, who has promised to open Iran to the outside world and bring about the freedoms that its people have long yearned for, the interior ministry announced on Saturday.

By acquiring the vast majority of the votes turned out on Friday, Pezeshkian has become Iran’s next president, said the statement. About half of the candidates participated in the close contest between hardline former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who is a strong proponent of strengthening ties with China and Russia, and Pezeshkian, the only moderate among the original field of four.

Social media posts featured footage of Pezeshkian’s supporters dancing in the streets of numerous cities and towns around the nation, as well as drivers honking their horns in celebration of his win. Witnesses reported that residents of Pezeshkian’s hometown of Urmia, in northwest Armenia, were giving out candy on the streets.

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Who is Masoud Pezeshkian?

The two contenders who will face off in the upcoming election cycle come from different political persuasions in Iran and have both made failed bids for the presidency in the past. 

Pezeshkian, a qualified cardiac surgeon and legislator, served as Mohammad Khatami’s reformist president’s health minister. 

He spent a lot of time in politics after losing his wife and one of his children in an automobile accident in 1994. In both the 2013 and 2021 presidential elections, Pezeshkian was unable to advance. 

The 69-year-old comes from a mixed-race family; his mother is Kurdish and his father is Azeri. It might be simpler for Western nations to hold talks with Iran if the president has a more moderate outlook. 

But prior to Friday’s vote, Khamenei denounced those who wanted better ties with the West. Pezeshkian has made it known that when it comes to foreign policy, he will yield to Khamenei.

What is going to happen next?

A reformist and an anti-Western hardliner was face off in a runoff in Iran’s snap presidential election on July 5 following record-low voter turnout that prevented an obvious winner. 

Following Friday’s voting, Pezeshkian,a 69-year-old former heart surgeon and health minister received 16.3 million votes to Jalili’s 13.5 million, according to the vote count released by the authorities on Saturday morning.

Following Pezeshkian’s official declaration as the winner of the 2024 Iran presidential election, As per the constitution, the elected president’s decree needs to be signed by the Supreme Leader; should he decline to sign, the elected president will not take office. 

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Subsequently, in front of the Guardian Council members and the Chief Justice, the elected President is required to administer an oath during a session of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

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