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Iran Presidential Election 2013: Voting hours to be extended; says Interior minister

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TEHRAN: Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Muhammad-Najjar said on Friday that the voting hours of the country’s 11th presidential and 4th city and rural council elections will be extended.

Millions of voters across Iran began casting their ballots on Friday to elect the successor of outgoing leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the state television announced.

The six candidates in Iran’s presidential election are the President of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research Hassan Rohani, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi.

Former Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel and former First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref withdrew their candidacy bids respectively on Monday and early Tuesday. The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.

Although all six candidates are seen as conservatives, one of them, cleric Hassan Rowhani, has been reaching out to the reformists in recent days.

The polls will remain open for the next 10 hours, though voting may be extended until midnight, if the interior ministry decides that it is necessary.

If no candidate garners 50 percent of the ballots cast in the first round, a runoff vote will be held on June 21. In the second round, the candidate with the most votes will be the winner and will take office if approved by the Guardian Council — a process that takes between seven and ten days.

Over 66,000 polling stations have been set up across the country, while expatriates have also been able to cast ballots at 285 polling stations that have been set up in their respective countries.

Nearly 50.5 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the upcoming election. The 4th city and rural council elections are also scheduled to be held on the same day.

Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human :) Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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