Raisi, who served as Iran's top judge before running for president, holds deeply conservative views.

Ultraconservative cleric Raisi wins Iran presidential vote

A supporter of Ebrahim Raisi walks past a poster of the president-elect at one of his campaign offices in Tehran on Saturday

Ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi was declared the winner Saturday of Iran’s presidential election, a widely anticipated result after many political heavyweights were barred from running.

Raisi won just shy of 62 percent of the vote in Friday’s election, according to official figures, on a turnout of 48.8 percent, a record low for a presidential poll in the Islamic republic.

Raisi, 60, is set to take over at a critical time, as Iran seeks to salvage its tattered nuclear deal with major powers and free itself from punishing US sanctions that have driven a deep economic crisis.

The head of the Iranian judiciary, whose black turban signifies direct descent from Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, Raisi is seen as close to the 81-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate political power in Iran.

Many voters chose to stay away after the field of some 600 hopefuls including 40 women had been winnowed down to seven candidates, all men, excluding an ex-president and a former parliament speaker.

Ultraconservative Mohsen Rezai, a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, placed second with 11.8 percent of votes cast.

Khamenei hailed the election saying that “the great winner… is the Iranian nation because it has risen up once again in the face of the propaganda of the enemy’s mercenary media”.

“Whether I vote or not, someone has already been elected,” said Tehran shopkeeper Saeed Zareie. “They organise the elections for the media.”

Read the article in the Herald Sun (AFP).