Reformist candidate Masud Pezeshkian wins presidential election…

Reformist candidate Masud Pezeshkian wins presidential election…
Reformist candidate Masud Pezeshkian wins presidential election…

Pezeshkian was voted for by 16,384,403 million Iranians, beating Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s favourite candidate, who was voted for by 13,530,179, the organisation’s spokesman, Mohsen Eslami, announced in a televised press conference reported by the state news agency IRNA.

According to projections, Pezeshkian will become the ninth president in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, succeeding the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi, who died last May in a helicopter accident in the province of West Azerbaijan (northwest).

The turnout in the second round of voting reached 49.8 percent in an election in which 61 million Iranians were eligible to vote.

Pezeshkian was the candidate with the most votes in the first round, held on June 28, but he failed to secure the 50 percent plus one vote needed to secure an outright victory.

The president is only number two in Iran’s power structure, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei serves as head of state and has the final say on all strategic matters. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Armed Forces.

The figure of Pezeshkian

Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old doctor whose father is Azerbaijani and whose mother is Kurdish, has been in politics for more than 20 years, having entered politics after participating in the war with Iraq (1980-1988) and after directing the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in the 1990s. In 2000, he became deputy minister of health during the presidency of the reformist Mohamed Khatami, who appointed him as head of the portfolio a year later. He subsequently joined Parliament in 2008, and served as vice-president from 2016 to 2020.

This time, he ran for president and subsequently became the only reformist to make the cut, which led him to garner significant support across the political spectrum, especially from former President Hassan Rouhani, who held office from 2013 to 2021, when he was replaced by Raisi.

Since then, he has reiterated his support for the principles of the Islamic Republic and has advocated respecting the guidelines set by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who, however, during the campaign for the first round was subtly critical of the reformist and encouraged the vote for conservative candidates, divided into several fronts.

He is, however, known for his critical stance against the harsh repression of the Green Movement following the 2009 presidential elections, in which the opposition denounced fraud in order to favour the re-election of conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and against the protests following Amini’s death, which left hundreds dead.

In fact, during these demonstrations, considered one of the greatest challenges to the clerical establishment since 1979, he went so far as to say that the authorities were responsible for the situation. “It is our fault. We want to enforce religious faith through the use of force. That is scientifically impossible,” he said.

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