Ahmadinejad has strong lead in Iran count: poll chief

TEHRAN- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken a strong lead in his bid to be re-elected as Iran's president, chalking up 65.96 percent of Friday's vote with more than two-thirds of ballot boxes counted, the interior ministry's elections chief said.
With 68 percent of total boxes counted, amounting to 24,122,777 votes, Ahmadinejad received 15,913,256 votes, or 65.96 percent of the total.

That compared with 7,526,117, or 31.19 percent for his closest challenger, former premier Mir Hossein Mousavi, said Kamran Daneshjoo, chairman of the electoral commission at the interior ministry.
Former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai remained a distant third, with 470,549 votes, or 1.95 percent. Ex-parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi remained in fourth place with 212,855, or 0.88 percent.
Daneshjoo said the figures were nationwide and included Tehran, but did not specify whether he meant the province or city of Tehran.
Separately, a former senior member of the National Security Council, Agha Mohammadi, said Ahmadinejad was likely to end the day with a narrow victory, avoiding the need for a runoff.
"According to the information we have the voter participation will be 70 percent overall and Ahmadinejad will have a little more than 50 percent of the total vote," Mohammadi said.
The president is leading in the countryside, which accounts for 33 percent of voters, and in small and medium-sized cities (34 percent).
"In big cities and in Tehran, in some parts Mousavi is leading and in some parts Ahmadinejad."

Saturday, June 13th 2009

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