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Rowhani has wide lead in Iran's early vote count

Hassan Rowhani, reformist-backed presidential candidate, had grabbed more than 48 per cent of the votes Iran's Interior Minister said. Rowhani took more than 3 million votes of 6 million 598 thousand. With more than 5.2 million votes counted from the 50 million electorate, Rohani had 52.30 percent of votes cast, Iran's interior ministry said. That takes Rohani above the 50 percent of the vote he needs to avoid a second round run-off on June 21. Rohani's nearest rival was conservative Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a long way behind with 17.33 percent. On those figures, Rowhani is followed by Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf with 1 million 95 thousand; top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili with 868 thousand; and ex-commander of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai with 708 thousand.

If Rowhani does not take above the 50 percent of the vote he will need a second round run-off on June 21.

Rohani received significant boosts earlier this week when reformist candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, withdrew in his favour. His campaign was also endorsed by former presidents Mohammad Khatami andAkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The 6 candidates racing to be elected as the new president of Iran are the only reformist candidate Hasan Rowhani, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Secretary of Iran’'s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, top adviser to Supreme Leader Khamenei on international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati, former chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Mohsen Rezaei, and former oil and telecommunications minister Mohammad Gharazi.

Except for the only reformist candidate Hasan Rowhani, the remaining candidates are conservatives close to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

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