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President Says Election Season Over, Calls for Unity

President Says Election Season Over, Calls for UnityPresident Says Election Season Over, Calls for Unity

President Hassan Rouhani, who won a landslide in last month's election, called on his conservative opponents to put aside their acrimonious rivalry and join hands with his government in addressing national problems. 

"The election campaign season is over. It is time we stood united as one team," the moderate president said at a fast-breaking Iftar dinner with sportspeople in Tehran on Sunday, his official website reported.

According to figures released by the Interior Ministry, the election organizer, 41 million out of the 56-million-strong electorate cast ballots in the bitterly contested vote -- a solid 73% turnout.

Final tallies showed over 23 million voted for Rouhani, or 57% of the ballots cast. His main conservative challenger Ebrahim Raeisi lost by a wide margin with 38%, or 15.7 million votes.

The cleric, who is a veteran judiciary official and current custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), and some senior conservatives accused Rouhani and his government of electoral irregularities.

Raeisi sent a letter of complaint to the Guardians Council, a 12-strong body comprised of clerics and jurists in charge of monitoring elections and verifying their results, and called for an inquiry into what he called "misconduct and flagrant violations".

The oversight body later dismissed Raeisi's allegations and endorsed the election outcome. The secretary general of the Combatant Clergy Association, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, had also made similar allegations.

Raeisi, his camp and their affiliated media outlets ramped up criticism of Rouhani's performance in his first term during the run-up to the poll.

They particularly challenged his economic performance and his policy of engagement with the West.

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