EHRAN (Tasnim) – Mostafa Hashemitaba, a candidate running for Iran’s 12th presidential election, expressed his gratitude to the country’s people for their massive presence in the polls and congratulated his rival, incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, over his victory in the vote.
In a message issued on Saturday, Hashemitaba said he is grateful to “the great nation of Iran”, the Guardian Council, the Interior Ministry and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and others who contributed to the successful organization of the election on Friday.
“Once again, the brave Iranian nation showed their maturity and (ability to) recognize what is best for them through electing Dr. Hassan Rouhani as president,” the candidate said.
He further offered his congratulations to Rouhani and wished him continued success in serving the Iranian nation.
With over 40 million ballots counted in Iran’s presidential election before midday Saturday, Rouhani has slightly increased his lead on runner-up Ebrahim Raisi by winning 56.88 percent of the votes, the Interior Ministry announced.
On Saturday morning, Ali Asghar Ahmadi, the head of the Interior Ministry’s State Elections Committee, gave new details of results of the Friday’s presidential election, saying a total of 40,076,729 votes have been tallied so far.
Around 3% of the votes are declared spoilt ballots, he noted, adding that the latest figures show that Rouhani has won 22,796,468 votes, equivalent to 56.88% of the ballots.
Raisi has secured 38.55% of the votes with 15,452,194 ballots, Ahmadi said, adding that the two other candidates, namely Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemitaba, have garnered 1.67% of the votes combined.
Ahmadi also said that the final results of the 12th presidential election will be formally announced by Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli later in the day.
By securing an absolute majority of the votes, Rouhani will be declared the outright winner.
More than 56,400,000 Iranian people were eligible to vote. 40 million voters would then translates into a turnout of around 71 percent.
Iranian expatriates in 103 countries cast their ballots simultaneous with the big turnout at home.
Polling stations across Iran closed at 12 o’clock Friday night after sixteen hours. The Interior Ministry had extended the voting three times in one of the country’s most tightly contested elections.
During the previous presidential election in June 2013, Rouhani had emerged victorious by winning 50.7 percent of a total of over 36 million votes. He had won more than three times as many votes as his closest challenger.
No sitting president in Iran has failed to win a second term since 198