Iran’s Presidential Election Goes to Runoff

A second round of Iran’s presidential election will be held after none of the candidates received enough votes to win outright in Friday’s ballot, the Interior Ministry announced.

The snap election was called after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province on May 19.

The results of the first round mean that two candidates will face each other in a runoff – reformist Masoud Pezeshkian and conservative Saeed Jalili, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday.

With all ballots counted, Pezeshkian received 10.4 million votes (42.45%), while Jalili secured 9.5 million votes (38.61%).

Their other two contenders – Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Mostafa Pourmohammadi – were eliminated from the race, with 13.78% and 0.84% of ballots, respectively.

According to Iranian law, a candidate must receive at least 50% plus 1 vote to be declared president.

Voter turnout was 24.5 million, or 40% of the 61 million people eligible to vote. The second round will be held on Friday, July 5, according to the interior minister.

Pezeshkian, 69, is a heart surgeon-turned-politician, who served as health minister in the 2000s and as first deputy speaker of parliament from 2016 to 2020. Jalili, 58, was Tehran’s negotiator during nuclear talks with world powers. He is now a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, which advises Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.