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Iran extends voting in presidential poll defined by voter apathy

·1-min read

Iranians headed to the polls Friday in a presidential election tipped in favour of an ultraconservative protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fuelling public apathy amid the disqualification of moderate candidates.

  • Voting has been extended two hours until 2 am (local time) in some polling centres. The interior ministry said in a statement that polling centres are "obliged to accept ballots as long as there are people at polling stations".

  • More than 59 million Iranian citizens are eligible to vote in the nation of 80 million people. But with boycott calls, turnout will be a critical issue in the 2021 presidential election.

  • Iran’s powerful Guardian Council approved only seven presidential candidates, disbarring hundreds of applicants, including a few women. Of the seven selected men, three later dropped out.

  • Ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's current chief justice and an ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the frontrunner due to the mass disqualification of mostly reformist or moderate candidates.

  • Many reformist parties and political figures have boycotted the election, including Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leader of the Green Movement who has been under house arrest since 2011. The Guardian Council also disqualified former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  • The 2021 presidential election comes amid severe economic and social crises in a country devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can catch up on our coverage of the day's polling on FRANCE 24's liveblog below.

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