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Voting deadline for Iran elections extended for 4th time to 2300 local time

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TEHRAN: The Iranian Interior Ministry has extended the voting deadline for Iran’s 11th presidential as well as 4th city and rural councils elections to 2300 local time (1830 GMT).

The voting has been extended four times, each time for one more hour, due to massive voter turnout.

Voters can continue to cast their ballots until 2200 local time on Friday, four hours beyond the initial 10-hour deadline, the ministry said in a statement.

Head of the Election Committee of Tehran Province Safarali Baratlou said the voter turnout in the Friday elections is predicted to hit 70 percent in Tehran Province. Extra ballots are also being sent to the province’s polling stations.

Polls officially opened across Iran at 8:00 am (0330 GMT) and were originally scheduled to end at 6 pm (1330 GMT).

Meanwhile, the country’s Election Headquarters said there had been no report of major irregularities from the polling stations, where representatives of the candidates have been stationed for more transparency.

Nearly 50.5 million Iranians, including more than 1.6 million first-time voters, are eligible to vote in the June 14 elections.

Iranian 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.

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.

Over 200,000 candidates are also running for fourth city and rural councils elections.

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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