(CNN) — Iranian centrist candidate Hassan Rouhani has won the Islamic republic’s presidential election, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar announced Saturday.
Iranian officials reported a high turnout, with nearly 73% of some 50 million registered voters — men and women, young and old — turning out, Najjar said.
The lines extended into the street at times Friday, as voters waited to pick their choice to succeed two-term President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the country’s 11th presidential election.
Rouhani takes Ahmadinejad’s mantle as one of the country’s most visible figures, at a time when it’s dealing with painful economic sanctions tied to international concern about its nuclear program.
But he won’t be Iran’s most powerful man. That distinction belongs to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been Iran’s supreme leader since 1989. He’s got plenty of backing, from conservative citizens to loyalist militia groups to, most notably, the Revolutionary Guard.