Former Iranian vice-president Masoumeh Ebtekar said she doesn’t expect today’s presidential election to go to a second round and hopes her candidate, Hassan Rohani, will emerge as the winner.
“I don’t think there will be a second run. I hope not,” said Ebtekar, who served in the late 90’s under president Mohammad Khatami, as she was waited to cast her ballot at a polling station in Tehran. “We see rising support” for Rohani.
Rohani’s campaign picked up earlier this week after he was endorsed by former presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, whom Iranians refer to as “the father of reforms,” and another candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, dropped out of the race to back him. Rohani says he will allow for more social liberties and ease economic sanctions on his nation by seeking a more constructive dialogue with the West.
In the last presidential election in 2009, activists accused authorities of using ballot fraud to deny a reformist candidate victory. Street protests lasted for days after the announced re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before being put down by security forces with thousands arrested.
“I hope people’s vote will be maintained carefully,” Ebtekar said. Officials “in charge of holding the election should know that people came to the ballot boxes with their heart and hope.”
Iranians started voting at 8 a.m. local time today, to choose a replacement for Ahmadinejad who’s not eligible to run for a third consecutive time.
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