The ultra-conservative chief justice Ebrahim Raisi has won the presidential election in Iran as expected. The relatively moderate candidate Abdolnasser Hemmati and outgoing president Hassan Rouhani congratulated him.
The congratulations indicate that Raisi received more than half of the votes cast; otherwise, there would have to be another round in the presidential election.
Turnout is believed to have been very low. The Iranians have been suffering from a deep economic crisis for years, and hopes for change through elections have evaporated. Oppression has continued to be fierce under the ‘moderate’ Rouhani over the past eight years. And the regime has only allowed a handful of presidential candidates to participate.
Observers estimate that turnout has not exceeded 40 percent. In 2017, according to official figures, this was still 70 percent. Raisi then lost to Rouhani.
Raisi, 60, has made a career from an early age in the judiciary in Iran, where the conservative Shia clergy has ruled since 1979. He was appointed president of the Supreme Court two years ago by the country’s most powerful man, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Raisi is regarded as a sword of the regime. He is reported to have played a leading role in a wave of executions of political opponents, including as a prosecutor in Tehran in 1988. Thousands of people across the country have been murdered in five months, according to human rights groups.
Observers believe that 82-year-old Khamenei and his confidant Raisi want to usher in a new phase of the Islamic Revolution that will further tighten Ayatollah’s hold on society.