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Centrist tops field of six to win Iranian presidential election

June 15, 2013 at 9:23 AM   |   Comments

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TEHRAN, June 15 (UPI) -- Hassan Rouhani has received more than half the votes in the Iranian presidential election with his closest contender far behind, officials say.

With nearly 97 percent of more than 16.7 million ballots counted, Rouhani had 50.5 percent of the vote, Press TV reported Saturday.

In a field of six candidates, Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf was a distant second with about 15.3 percent, according to election results provided by Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar.

Rouhani, a centrist, will replace incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

Campaigning began May 22 with eight candidates approved by the Guardian Council. Two candidates withdrew, one only three days before the election on Friday.

Some 50.5 million people were eligible to vote in the election, the interior ministry said, including 1.6 million youths who were eligible to vote for the first time.

Voting took place in the country's 66,285 polling stations and 96 countries around the world.

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