Meet Reformist Lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian, Iran’s New President

By DailyNewsUg Correspondent,

Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian has won Iran’s presidential election, the country’s electoral authority said Saturday, defeating his hardline rival in a pivotal vote amid heightened tensions both domestically and internationally.

Out of 30.5 million votes counted in Friday’s runoff, Pezeshkian won 53.6%, edging out ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, who had 44.3% of the votes, according to state-run Press TV. Voter turnout was 49.8%, Press TV reported.

Pezeshkian was elected in a second round of voting after securing the highest number of ballots in the first round, ahead of Jalili. The first round saw the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979.

“We will extend the hand of friendship to everyone; we are all people of this country and should utilize everyone’s efforts for the nation’s progress,” he said in his first remarks after the election win, according to Press TV. He thanked those who voted in Friday’s poll “with love and to help” the country.

The Guardian Council, a powerful 12-member body tasked with overseeing elections and legislation, must certify the vote before Pezeshkian can take office.

Pezeshkian will take the helm in a country that is facing increasing international isolation, internal discontent, a spiraling economy and the prospect of direct conflict with its archenemy Israel.

Iranian worshippers chant slogans as they hold a poster of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini and an anti-Israeli placard during their anti-Israeli gathering after Friday prayer in Tehran, Iran, Friday, April 19, 2024. An apparent Israeli drone attack on Iran saw troops fire air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site early Friday morning near the central city of Isfahan, an assault coming in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The snap election that brought him to power was held after President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash in May in Iran’s remote northwest, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials. The lawmaker was the only reformist candidate vying for the top elected seat in the country after dozens of other candidates were barred from running.

Following victory, Pezeshkian appealed for unity and support from fellow Iranians in a statement posted to X.

“Dear people of Iran, the elections are over and this is just the beginning of our support/work. The difficult path ahead of us will not be paved except with your support, empathy and trust. I extend my hand to you and swear by my dignity that I will not leave you alone on this path. Don’t leave me alone,” he wrote.

He has favored dialogue with Iran’s foes, particularly over its nuclear program, and sees that as a means to address the country’s domestic issues.

“The primary issue is the perspective: Do we want to solve our problems with the world or not? I believe we must get out of the deadlock to solve the country’s problems,” he said at a presidential debate ahead of the second round of voting.

The leaders of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Syria were among the first to congratulate Pezeshkian.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said he was “keen to develop and deepen the relations that bring together our two countries and peoples, and serve our common interests,” according to state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped Pezeshkian’s election would expand bilateral cooperation “in all areas” in the interest of “simplifying regional security and stability,” according to a statement from the Kremlin.

While the Iranian president does enjoy some powers, the ultimate authority lies with the Supreme Leader, who has the final say on all matters of state.

#IRAN #MasoudPezeshkian #iranvotes

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