TEHRAN: Counting of votes was underway as polling for the 12th presidential and fifth city and village council elections were closed at midnight in Iran.
Voting started at 8 am across the country in 63,500 polling stations and was supposed to end at 18 pm, However, in an unprecedented move, voting hours have been extended three times (each time for two hours) due to people’s huge participation in the elections.
Whereas a large number of voters standing in long lines failed to cast their ballots in certain polling including in three major stations in north and east of the capital.
Similar cases were also reported in Golestan, Ilam, Yazd, Kordestan, Chahar Mahal-Bakhtiari, Markazi provinces. A tough competition is expected between reformist President Hassan Rouhani and conservative challenger Ebrahim Raisi.
The main competition was between Rouhani and Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, who is the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad.
The interior ministry said that more than 40 million votes were cast, indicating a turnout of about 70 percent in Friday’s vote, roughly similar to the showing in 2013 elections when Rouhani swept into office in a landslide victory.