Record turnout likely in Iran presidential election

June 12th, 2009 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, June 12 (DPA) As polling stations opened in Iran for Friday’s presidential election, voters turned out in unprecedentedly high numbers, witnesses said.
In the capital Tehran, long queues formed even before the polling stations opened at 8 a.m. (0330 GMT).

The high participation early in the day confirmed predictions by the Iranian Interior Ministry that there would be a record turnout in this year’s presidential polls.

About 46.2 million Iranians out of a total population of 70.4 million are eligible to vote.

Mir-Hossein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezaei are the three candidates challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to opinion polls, Moussavi has emerged as the president’s main challenger.

There are 45,713 polling stations throughout the country and 304 for Iranians abroad, including 32 in the US.

Voting is to continue until 6 p.m. (1330 GMT), but it was expected to be extended by four hours.

The interior ministry said the results would gradually be announced Saturday.

In case none of the four candidates receives an absolute majority in the first round of voting, a run-off would be held June 19 between the two candidates with the most votes.

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