Tehran, — Iranians voted on Friday in the country”s first presidential election run-off, to select a successor to reformist President Mohammad Khatami, Reuters reported.
Following are some facts about the voting process.
— The run-off will be between pragmatic cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 70, and ultra-conservative Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 48.
— The vote was required after, for the first time since Iran”s 1979 Islamic revolution, none of the original seven candidates polled the minimum 50 percent required for an outright win.
— Rafsanjani polled 21 percent of votes in the first round, closely followed by Ahmadinejad with 19.5 percent.
— All Iranians over the age of 15 can vote. Some 46.8 million of Iran”s 67 million inhabitants are eligible to vote.
— Turnout in the first round on June 17 was 63 percent, down from 69 percent in 2001 but well above turnouts in parliamentary and local council elections.
— The presidential term lasts for four years. Incumbents can stand for a second term after which they must step down for at least one presidential term.
The Guardian Council, a panel of six senior clerics and six Islamic jurists, vetted aspiring candidates for suitability. To qualify, a candidate must be of Iranian origin and an Iranian citizen, be considered a distinguished political or religious figure and have an unblemished track record of piety and faithfulness to the Islamic Republic.
— This year the Council trimmed the field of 1,014 hopefuls down to just eight qualified candidates. One subsequently dropped out. Once again, some senior clerics and human rights lawyers who say they should be allowed to run barred all women from standing despite objections.