Raisi wins Iran vote
Ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi was yesterday declared the winner of Iran's presidential election, a widely anticipated result after many political heavyweights were barred from running.
Raisi won just shy of 62 percent of the vote in Friday's election, according to official figures, on a turnout of 48.8 percent, a record low for a presidential poll in the Islamic republic.
"I congratulate the people on their choice," said outgoing moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who has served the maximum of two consecutive four-year terms and leaves office in August.
Raisi, 60, is set to take over at a critical time, as Iran seeks to salvage its tattered nuclear deal with major powers and free itself from punishing US sanctions that have driven a sharp economic downturn.
"God willing, we will do our best so that the hope for the future now alive in people's hearts grows further," said Raisi, adding that he wants to strengthen public trust in the government for a "bright and pleasant life together".
The head of the Iranian judiciary, whose black turban signifies direct descent from Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Raisi is seen as close to the 81-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate political power in Iran.
Khamenei hailed the election saying that "the great winner... is the Iranian nation because it has risen up once again in the face of the propaganda of the enemy's mercenary media".
Raisi, who holds deeply conservative views on many social issues including the role of women in public life, has been named in Iranian media as a possible successor to Khamenei.
To opposition and human rights groups, his name is linked to mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. The US government has sanctioned him over the purge, in which Raisi has denied involvement.
Rouhani's landmark achievement was the 2015 deal with world powers under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.