Iranian Cleric Hassan Rouhani Wins Presidential Race

Hassan Rouhani says he will restore the economy and improve rocky relations with the West if he is elected.

Iranian cleric Hassan Rouhani took the lead in the Iranian presidential race according to initial counts.
The Guardian calls Rouhani a moderate, whatever that means:

The moderate Iranian cleric Hassan Rouhani is maintaining a strong lead in the race to be Iran’s next president, with more than half of the ballots now counted.

The reformist-backed Rouhani has just over 51% of the 23m votes counted so far, a commanding lead over the next candidate, Tehran’s mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who has 16.3% . Other hardline candidates close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, including the current nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, are lagging even further behind.

Rouhani could win in the first round if he finishes with more than 50% . Turnout was estimated at 80% among the 50 million Iranians eligible to vote for a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A Rouhani win would be a welcome surprise for many reformists, who are desperate to break back into mainstream Iranian politics after eight years of Ahmadinejad’s hardline presidency.

Rouhani has written several books on Islamic political thought.


UPDATE: Rouhani wins election.

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