Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, whose more moderate policies included greater internal freedoms and a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. that brought about some sanctions relief, has won a resounding victory for a second four-year term, Iranian State TV said Saturday.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told a news conference that the 68-year-old cleric won 57 percent of the vote against three other contenders to avoid a runoff.
Voting hours were extended several times because of the high turnout — 41.2 million voters, or 73 percent of the electorate.
As Rouhani’s victory looked increasingly likely late Friday, some female drivers held out the V for victory sign and flashed their car lights on highways in Tehran’s affluent north.
In 2013, Rouhani won his first term with nearly 51 percent of the vote amid a turnout of 73 percent.
Iran’s president is the second-most powerful figure within Iran’s political system. He is subordinate to the supreme leader, who is chosen by a clerical panel and has the ultimate say over all matters of state.
Still, the president oversees a vast state bureaucracy employing more than 2 million people, is charged with naming Cabinet members and other officials to key posts, and plays a significant role in shaping both domestic and foreign policy.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a statement Saturday commending the Iranian people for their “massive and epic” turnout in the country’s elections.
“The winner of the yesterday’s elections, is you, the Iranian people, and the Islamic establishment, which has managed to win the increasing trust of this big nation despite the enemies’ plot and effort,” he said, according to PressTV.
Friday’s vote was largely a referendum on Rouhani’s more moderate political policies, which…