Congratulations poured in for ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday on winning Iran’s presidential election as his rivals conceded defeat even before official results were announced.
The other three candidates in the race congratulated him for his victory, which had been widely expected after a host of heavyweight rivals 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.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan also congratulated Raisi on his “landmark victory”. “Look forward to working with him for further strengthening of our fraternal ties and for regional peace, progress and prosperity,” he said on Twitter
. The other two ultraconservative 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, 60, 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 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 per cent or less.—AFP