(Tehran) The Friday Election Day showed – In separate interviews with the Mehr News Agency on Friday, a number of Iranian political figures commented on the outcome of the presidential election which was held on the same day. Iranians went to the polls in large numbers on Friday to cast their ballots in a presidential election that was mainly a contest between centrist and principlist candidates. The six men competing to succeed incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were centrist candidates Hassan Rohani and Mohsen Rezaei, principlist candidates Ali Akbar Velayati, Saeed Jalili, and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and independent candidate Mohammad Gharazi.Ahmadinejad was constitutionally barred from running for a third four-year term.
Two other candidates — pro-reformist Mohammad Reza Aref and principlist Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel — had been approved by Iran’s top electoral supervisory body, the Guardian Council, but later dropped out of the race. Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. and were scheduled to close at 6 p.m. However, the voting was extended at a number of polling stations to accommodate voters who were in line at closing time.
According to the Interior Ministry, 50,483,192 people were eligible to vote on Friday.
Voter turnout was reported to be high.
The results of the election, which many political analysts believe will go to a run-off, are expected to be announced on Saturday. In the Iranian system, if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, the two top candidates must face off in a run-off election a week later.
According to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, 455 foreign reporters representing 205 media outlets from 40 countries covered the election. In Western Iran, the borders of Ilam, Kermanshah, and West Azarbaijan provinces with neighboring countries were closed to maintain security on election day.
He also said that the candidates were obligated to abide by the law after the announcement of the election results.
Former Majlis speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, who dropped out of the race just ahead of election day, said that it was likely that the election would run to a second round.
Former vice president Sadeq Vaezzadeh predicted that a pro-reform candidate and a principlist candidate would contest a run-off election.
Former MP Hassan Ghafourifard also said that it was more than likely that the election would go to a run-off.
In addition, an unnamed member of the Guardian Council told the Mehr News Agency that the election outcome was unpredictable.
Hassan Rohani, who formerly served as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and who has been endorsed by Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who is the current mayor of Tehran, are widely believed to be the front runners in the election turn out more than what was expected. Prayers leader Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini said on Friday that any candidate who is elected president should seek consultation with experts in regard to the management of the country. “The next president should make use of the views of specialists and experts,” Ayatollah Amini told worshippers in the city of Qom.He also called on other candidates to cooperate with the elected president.