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PM Imran Khan congratulates Iran’s new president on ‘landmark victory’

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PM Imran Khan congratulates Irans new president Ebrahim Raisi on securing landmark victory

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday congratulated Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, on securing a “landmark victory” in the country’s 13th presidential elections.

“Congratulations to Excellency brother Ibrahim Raisi on his landmark victory in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s 13th Presidential elections,”the premier wrote.

He said he looks forward to “working with him for further strengthening of our fraternal ties and for regional peace, progress and prosperity”.

Raisi’s rivals conceded even before official results were announced.

The other three candidates in the race all congratulated him for his victory, which had been widely expected after a host of political heavyweights had been barred from running.

“I congratulate the people on their choice,” said outgoing moderate President Hassan Rouhani without naming Raisi. “My official congratulations will come later, but we know who got enough votes in this election and who is elected today by the people.”

The other two candidates — Mohsen Rezai and Amirhossein Qazizadeh Hashemi — explicitly congratulated Raisi, as did the only reformist in the race, former central bank governor Abdolnasser Hemmati.

Raisi won 62% of the votes counted so far, election office chairman Jamal Orf said later on state television as the count continued, with no turnout figures released yet.

The 60-year-old Raisi takes over from Rouhani in August 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.

Raisi, the head of the judiciary, is seen as close to the 81-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ultimate political power in Iran.

Friday’s voting was extended by two hours past the original midnight deadline amid fears of a low turnout of 50% or less.

Many voters chose to stay away after the field of some 600 hopefuls including 40 women had been winnowed down to seven candidates, all men, excluding an ex-president and a former parliament speaker.

Three of the vetted candidates dropped out of the race two days before Friday’s election, and two of them quickly threw their support behind Raisi.

— With additional input from AFP.

2021-06-19 17:46:00

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