Polling underway in Iran to elect 12th President

Polling underway in Iran to elect 12th President

Polling is underway in Iran to elect its 12th President. Hassan Rouhani, 68, a moderate cleric who negotiated a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, is standing against three other candidates.

His main challenger is seen as Ebrahim Raisi, 56, a hardline cleric and former prosecutor who is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rouhani is seeking a second term.

State television showed long queues outside polling stations in several cities and said 56 million Iranians out of the more than 80 million population are eligible to vote. Polls close at 6 p.m.

local time, although authorities often extend voting into the evening. The semi-official Fars news agency said ballot counting will start at midnight and final results are expected within 24 hours of polls closing.

If no-one wins more than 50 por cent of votes cast in the presidential poll, a run-off between the top two finishers will be held on May 26th.

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