Iranian moderate presidential candidate, Hassan Rouhani (C) flashes the sign of victory as he leaves a polling station after voting on June 14, 2013 in Tehran during the first round of the presidential candidate. Image Credit: AFP

Tehran: Dubai: Moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani was declared Iran’s new president on Saturday in a surprise outright election victory that ends eight years of conservative grip on the top office.

“This victory is a victory for wisdom, moderation and maturity... over extremism,” local media reported Rouhani as saying in a first statement after his triumph.

Rouhani, 64, a former top nuclear negotiator who has championed more constructive engagement with world powers, won outright with 18.6 million votes, or 50.68 per cent of those cast, the interior minister said.

Crowds marched through Vali-Asr Square in central Tehran carrying pictures of the winner and chanting pro-Rouhani slogans. In northwest Tehran, people gathered in Kaj Square and cheered as passing cars sounded their horns in approval.

Rouhani’s tally was enough to ensure there would be no run-off against the runner-up, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who came a distant second with 16.55 per cent of the votes. Top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili came third with 11.35 per cent.

Former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai and ex-foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati won 3.88 and 2.26 million votes respectively.

UAE leaders greet winner

UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a congratulatory cable to Rouhani on winning the election and the success of the electoral process in Iran, a WAM report said.

In the cable, Shaikh Khalifa also expressed his good wishes for more progress and prosperity for the Iranian people.

“We are looking forward to working alongside you for the benefit of the region and both our countries’ peoples. We are keen on maintaining relations with Iran that are based on cooperation,” wrote Shaikh Khalifa.

Similar cables were sent by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website congratulated Rouhani on his victory and urged the people to work with him.

“Congratulations to the people and to president-elect Hojatoleslam Hassan Rouhani,” Khamenei’s Internet site leader.ir reported.

“I urge everyone to help the president-elect and his colleagues in the government, as he is the president of the whole nation.”