• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Mixed coters reaction trails Iran’s Election

Voting Iran

Iranians head to the polls today to elect a new PM, the snap election coming after the tragic death of former PM Ebrahim Raisi has been met with excitement and apathy from voters across the country.

The Polls opened at 8am on Friday and are scheduled to close at 6pm, but the voting time can be extended until midnight and about 61 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the election.

The snap election coincides with escalating regional tensions due to the current war between Israel and Iranian ally Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and discontent over the state of Iran’s sanctions-hit economy.

Read also: World leaders mourn Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi

A council made up of six scholars and six jurists aligned with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s 85-year-old supreme leader who has been in power since 1989 to vet candidates. It approved just six from an initial pool of 80.

Prominent among the remaining are Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, parliament speaker and former commander of the air force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and Saeed Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator who served for four years in Khamenei’s office.

Masoud Pezeshkian, The sole comparative centrist is faithful to Iran’s theocratic rule, but shares an opinion with the West, economic reform, social liberalization and political pluralism.

According to Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi nearly 60,000 voting stations and 90,000 “voting points” have been set up across the country, with more than 300 voting stations abroad.

Read also: Iran’s vice president Mokhber replaces Raisi as interim president

Voters have however shared their reservations with reporters about the ongoing electoral process with some being excited about the process of choosing a new PM and others showing apathy towards the government.

“We are taking part in the election to determine the political fate and governance of our country ourselves,” Mohammad Reza Hadi, a 37-year-old student in Tehran, told AFP.

“I don’t have major expectations from these elections because in the hierarchy of the government here, the president is not the key decision-maker,” Amir, another voter, told Al Jazeera.

“The election can be useful for the people, especially the people who are looking for the help or are looking to guarantee their future,” Maria Jaafary told Al Jazeera.

Ehsan Ajdi, 39, a public sector worker in the capital, added, “The reason for our participation is that we are on the path of democracy… demonstrated through elections.”

However, the country’s supreme leader Khamenei, has called on the citizens to come out en masse to vote their preferred candidate

“The durability, strength, dignity and reputation of the Islamic republic depend on the presence of people,” Khamenei told state television after casting his vote. “High turnout is a definite necessity.”

Manual counting of ballots means the final result is expected to be announced only in two days, though initial figures may come out sooner.

If no candidate wins at least 50 percent plus one vote from all ballots cast, including blank votes, a run-off between the top two candidates is to be held on the first Friday after the election result is declared.