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Ebrahim Raisi, ultra-conservative judiciary chief, wins Iran’s presidential vote amid historically low turnout

Ebrahim Raisi has won Iran’s presidential election amid historically low turnout. Raisi is a hardline judiciary chief with a brutal human rights record. Raisi has long opposed engagement with the West and boasts a close friendship with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Most of Raisi’s former opponents for president were barred in the runup to the race, meaning that he ran virtually unopposed. Raisi, who is 60 years old, won almost 18 million of the 29 million ballots cast, according to Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli on Saturday, when the election results were announced.

Many reform-minded Iranians did not take place in the election and rather viewed it as a foregone conclusion. This and many other factors contributed to the historically low turnout rate of 48.8%, the lowest since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Activists have accused Iran’s clerical establishment of selecting rather than electing the next president, claiming that the poll is designed to further entrench the power of the country’s hardline clerical rulers despite many Iranians calling for reforms. Pleas from Khamenei urging people to vote were unfounded in last week’s election.

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