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  • The elections will pit incumbent President Hassan Rouhani (supporters at left) against conservative candidate Seyed Ebrahim Raisi (supporters at right).

    The elections will pit incumbent President Hassan Rouhani (supporters at left) against conservative candidate Seyed Ebrahim Raisi (supporters at right). | Photo: Reuters

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In addition to electing the president, citizens will vote for Iran City and Village Councils of Iran.

Polls opened in Iran as more than 50 million citizens participate in the 12th presidential election of the Islamic Republic. Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani currently leads polls.

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The Iranian people will have various choices such as Seyed Mostafa Mir-Salim of the Islamic Coalition Party; Seyed Ebrahim Raisi of the Combatant Clergy Association; and Seyed Mostafa Hashemitaba of the Executives of Construction Party; as well as the current president, Hassan Rouhani of the Moderation and Development Party.

According to the constitution and the electoral laws of the country, the candidate is elected in the first round, if he obtains over 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate manages to secure a victory in the first round, a second round will be held next Friday, May 26.

Equal access to state media platforms during the campaign are guaranteed to each candidate.

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Candidates for presidents must be approved by the Guardian Council, which is responsible for reviewing the candidates' qualifications. The leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, will ultimately sign the decree appointing the new president.

In addition to electing the president, citizens will vote for Iran City and Village Councils of Iran.

Incumbent president and candidate Hassan Rouhani has used the nuclear agreement and the easing of economic sanctions by the West as his main campaign assets.

Rouhani has said that if he remains in power, he will harness the talent of Iran's youth and form a cabinet comprised of younger members. He also pointed out that if he is re-elected, he will ensure that the executive branch boosts its constructive and robust interactions with the other branches of the country, the judiciary and the legislature, and he is committed to the aspirations and values of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the interests of the Iranian people.

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Rohani also indicated that he will maintain a diplomatic style based on maintaining good relations with all countries, in particular, neighboring and Islamic nations, as well as Asian, African and Latin American countries.

The conservative candidate, Ebrahim Raisi, has focused his campaign on economic issues and the fight against corruption. He is not in favor of the nuclear accord signed in July 2015.

Raisi vowed to tackle unemployment, following a line adopted by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has criticized President Rouhani for the economic situation in the country. He has promised to generate one million jobs per year.

Beginning Thursday, voters had about 24 hours – known as a day of reflection – to arrive at their decision and learn about the candidate that suits their politics best. During this time, electoral activities such as campaigning, leafletting and advertising are prohibited.

The international community will be paying close attention to the Islamic Republic's elections, whose results will surely reverberate throughout the Middle Eastern region and Muslim world.

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