Reformist Masoud Pezeshkian Elected President of Iran in Surprise Runoff Victory


By Natasha Turak | @NATASHATURAK

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Iran has elected Masoud Pezeshkian as its new president in an unexpected victory for the reformist camp amidst widespread social discontent, economic challenges, and regional conflict. The 69-year-old former minister will serve a four-year term as the head of the Islamic Republic, facing numerous challenges.

Pezeshkian secured 16.3 million votes, with voter turnout at 49.8%. His opponent, Saeed Jalili, a hard-line conservative and former nuclear negotiator, garnered 13.5 million votes.

Despite being viewed as a “token reformist” and a “second-tier candidate,” Pezeshkian, the most moderate contender, triumphed over several staunchly conservative candidates. He previously served as the minister of health under Iran’s last reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, from 1997 to 2005, and has been a member of parliament since 2008.

Pezeshkian aims to ease social restrictions, such as Iran’s strict hijab laws, and improve relations with the West, potentially reviving nuclear talks. However, his presidency is not expected to lead to fundamental changes, as ultimate power rests with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and other unelected institutions like the Revolutionary Guards.

Iran’s election followed the unexpected death of former President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May. Despite the election, which was open to approximately 61 million eligible voters, the process is widely considered neither free nor fair, with the ultra-conservative Guardian Council controlling candidate eligibility.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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