No surprises: Iran re-elected the President

Candice Alexander
May 28, 2017

Rouhani, who defeated his conservative challenger Ebrahim Raisi in the Friday elections, garnered 57% of the vote, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said.

Following his re-election, President Hassan Rouhani said Iranians have chosen the "path of engagement with the world" and rejected extremism.

During his campaign, Rouhani clearly stated his desire to lift the remaining non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, which can only be interpreted as a desire to engage in further diplomatic talks with Washington.

The election comes as Trump visits Saudi Arabia, the heart of the Sunni branch of Islam. "The fate of the country is in the hands of people".

"I respect the outcome of the vote of the people and the result will be respected by me and all the people", Mr Raisi said after voting, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. He congratulated him for the "confidence that the Iranian people gave to him to go forward in boosting Iran's status in the region and the world".

"Rouhani called Raisi supporters extremist and violent".

But his revolutionary rhetoric and efforts to win over working class voters with promises of increased handouts gained limited traction.

"They have the maturity to understand that the solution to their country´s predicaments are in competent management of the economy and moderation in global relations", Vaez told AFP.

Its President, Vladimir Putin, sent a congratulatory telegram to Rouhani, the Kremlin said on its website.

In his first televised message after the victory, President Rouhani praised Iranians who, in his words, had said No to returning to the past.

Although considered a moderate by Iranian standards, Rouhani was nonetheless the favourite pick for those seeking more liberal reforms in the conservative Islamic Republic.

"Unfortunately, instead of accepting the message issued by the results, they are hiding behind congratulations to society and the system over the high turnout", Zibakalam wrote in the daily Ghanoon. But Iran continues to suffer from high unemployment and a dearth of foreign investment, putting pressure on Rouhani to show he can do more to turn the sluggish economy around.

"I think he´ll make the cabinet younger and more agile".

Monthly inflation has been tamed to less than 8 percent from above 40 percent, and the International Monetary Fund expects Iran's economy to grow 3.3 percent this year after contracting by 6.8 percent in 2013.

Ahmadi says the initial vote count has the moderate cleric Rouhani with 14.6 million votes.

Still, Rouhani's reelection - combined with reformist candidates' strong showing in last year's parliamentary elections - represents an expression of popular will that Khamenei may be forced to accommodate.

Rouhani, 68, who led the conclusion of a historic nuclear deal between Iran and six countries including the United States in 2015, scored a landslide victory in the Iranian presidential election on Friday. He had campaigned as a reformist and challenged Iran's powerful security force, IRGC.

They had thrown their support behind Raisi to safeguard their interests.

Other reports by VgToday

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