Iran's incumbent president Hassan Rouhani wins second term

Ebrahim Raisi hardline challenger in Iran

Iran's polls finally closed after Friday's election was extended to cope with the large numbers turning out to give their verdict on President Hassan Rouhani and his troubled efforts to rebuild worldwide ties and kickstart the struggling economy.

Rouhani led early vote counts with more than 22 million votes against his main challenger Ebrahim Raisi's 15.5 million, Reuters reports.

Abadpour said he meant to cast his vote based upon which candidate won the support of friends and family living in Iran.

State media said more than 30 million - over half of registered voters - had already cast their ballot when the initial deadline was reached.

The final results are to be announced later Saturday.

The Iranian expatriates, who joined their 55 million countrymen in picking the Islamic Republic's next leader, cast their votes at six polling stations across the country: four in Kuala Lumpur, one in Johor Baru and one in Penang.

The polls closed at 24:00 local time (1930 GMT) on Friday after voting hours were extended several times.

Raisi, a former member of the so-called death commissions involved in the summary executions of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s, has echoed Khamenei's and other hard-liners' calls for self-sufficiency to improve the economy, and he has alleged that Rohani has significantly worsened inequalities in Iranian society. He is close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, who stopped short of endorsing anyone in the election.

The presidential election was also held in 102 countries.

For ordinary Iranians, the election presented a stark choice between competing visions of the country.

The two other candidates, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemitaba, are trailing behind with 297,276 and 139,331 votes, respectively.

Observers believe that the moderate president's best chances of a second term lie in a high voter turnout.

Many voters at the NY polling booth had to take the day off work to cast their ballots.

He has pushed the boundaries over the past fortnight, criticising the continued arrest of reformist leaders and activists, and calling on security agencies not to interfere in the vote. The two figures, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, both endorsed Raisi, as did Mohammad Khatami, another reformist who served as Iran's president from 1997 to 2005.

Raisi says he will stick by the nuclear deal, but points to a persistent economic slump as evidence Rouhani's diplomatic efforts have failed.

"I am disappointed with all the candidates, but I came to cast my vote because I don't want to make our enemies - Saudi Arabia, Israel and America - happy", said Morteza Baghernejad, a 50-year-old.

While Rouhani appears to be the more popular candidate among the public, Raisi enjoys close ties with the Supreme Leader and backing from the country's powerful elite Revolutionary Guards.

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