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Runoff seen likely in Iran's election as Jalili, Pezeshkian, Ghalibaf lead polls

The Islamic Republic is still facing the key challenge of voter apathy according to the latest opinion polls, while fierce factional rivalries characterized the live debates seen by only one out of every four Iranians.
Iranian presidential candidate Saeed Jalili arrives to attend an election campaign rally in Tehran on June 18, 2024.

TEHRAN — A new record-low turnout was predicted for Iran's upcoming snap presidential election, the latest survey by a leading Iranian polling organization indicated this week.

The government-affiliated Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) published the results on Thursday, saying only 42.5% of its respondents had decided to "definitely" vote in the election scheduled for June 28. The figure showed a drop by 2.5% compared with another survey by the same agency only two weeks ago, marking little success in the ruling establishment's campaign to encourage the apathetic electorate

The last presidential election in 2021 registered a 48.8% turnout, the lowest in any presidential race in the Islamic Republic's history. The vote ended in victory for hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi, whose death in a helicopter crash last month triggered the snap election. 

This year's race comprises six candidates. The only pro-reform nominee, Masoud Pezeshkian, is competing against Saeed Jalili, Alireza Zakani and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, all Raisi allies who are known for their hardcore anti-Western foreign policy agendas. The two other candidates are conservative parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and moderate-traditional cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi. 

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