Iranian Elections: Pezeshkian, Jalili Advance to Second Round

Turnout was low, 40%, on July 5 the choice will be between reformists and ultraconservatives

Iran’s next president will be chosen between reformist candidate Massoud Pezeshkian and ultraconservative Saeed Jalili. This was announced by Tehran’s Interior Ministry following a vote held on June 28.

“Neither candidate could get an absolute majority of votes, so the first and second will compete on July 5,” said a spokesman for the ministerial election service. According to the Tasnim news agency close to the Revolutionary Guard, just under 40% of those eligible to vote actually voted, which would be the lowest turnout in Iran’s history. In the March legislative elections, turnout was 41%; in the 2021 presidential election (the previous negative record), it was 48%.

Pezeshkian received 10,415,991 votes, representing 42.45%, while Jalili received 38.61% of votes with 9,473,298 preferences, followed by Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Mostafa Pourmohammadi with 13.78% and 0.84% of votes.

The election, originally scheduled for 2025, was held a year ahead of schedule due to the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in May in a helicopter crash while traveling in the country’s mountainous northwest. Foreign Minister Hosein Amirabdollahian and six others were killed along with him.

Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, once again called on the people to go to the polls en masse after the morning voting, a message that was repeated several times in the days before the vote.

The president in Iran has limited powers, he essentially applies broad policy guidelines set by the supreme leader, which is the head of state. Thus, the outcome of the voting will not lead to significant changes, even if the victory of the “reformer” candidate may be tantamount to a negative poll towards the current leadership of the country.